Business is going almost too well at The Elder Statesman. That won’t come as much of a surprise—Greg Chait and co. make the trippiest luxurious knits out there—but success has allowed the founder and his team a little more creative leeway. For fall 2021, they are approaching their collection with a scientific rigor. Biosphere-2, an environmental simulation in Arizona, served as the jumping off point and the location for their seasonal photoshoot.
A pamphlet sent out with the collection shows off diagrams of The Elder Statesman’s knitwear patterns, focusing on yarn consistency and texture. It looks like something that might have slipped out of Steve Zissou’s pocket in The Life Aquatic, which is to say it errs on the artisanal side of science. That’s proven a sweet spot for Chait’s creativity: Clothing engineered for durability, warmth, and optimum vibes.
The good vibes are aplenty this season. Mordechai Rubenstein, the photographer and hippie dandy, offered his eye for a swirling tie-dye collaboration. There is a new crochet program in which studio scraps are knotted into trousers and hoodies, each one unique and groovy. The brand’s new fabric, a cotton-cashmere herringbone, was cut into button-downs and casual pants, which were hand-dyed in a lot behind the studio. The inside of the herringbone is electric with color and the exterior faded, a result of the fabric blend. Chait describes it as sort of a happy accident; cashmere takes dye well, cotton doesn’t. Going through the entire collection, photographed in “the savanna,” “the tropics,” and “the ocean,” you get the sense that Chait and co. are having a great time, trying to stay smart, small, and sustainable. No wonder business is booming; who doesn’t want to feel a little happier right now?