Billionaire Boys Club knocked heads with NYC designer Mark McNairy about twelve months ago for a collaborative release. The pairing seemed far from orthodox by some standards, particuarly when considering the two labels’ customer bases. The final product however, a brogue boot with bright, block colour soles, gave light to a shared appreciation for youthful interpretation of sartorial elegance. Six months later the pair would announce the BBC ‘Bee Line’ collection, expanding McNairy’s input to a full line of clothing.
Bee Line’s insignia comes from the Merovingian Kings that originally founded France. Appropriately ushering in change of its own, Bee Line’s objective is to produce a more refined and mature product for BBC’s changing customer base. In order to achieve this, McNairy revisits classic silhouettes as well as templates from BBC’s own history, bringing them into the current mode and giving them an appropriate ‘McNasty‘ twist. I can see an encouraging number of ‘Made in America’ tags too, so quality is certain to be very high.
Previous releases by McNairy under his own New Amsterdam label have seen the designer experimenting heavily with patterns and toying with American styles such as prep and sportswear. Lookbooks have often exuded an air of ‘unbridled vibrancy in a single-breast suit’, so it’s not surprising to see this same approach in Bee Line. The ‘Lombardi’ jacket, for example, is a clean interpretation of the coaches jacket, subtly accented by the heather cotton ribs at the armpits and a chenille ‘B’ emblem on the chest.
Likewise, elements of several styles are present on the ‘Newman’ jacket, a minimal offering complete with tonal branding on the left shoulder. Interestingly, it adopts the silhouette of an M65 jacket, while the off-centre zipper and diagonal-zip breast pocket are more reminiscent of a Biker jacket.
McNairy’s love of patterns is also apparent this season, making use of an array of motifs. Ikat, an Indonesian pattern that is popular in South America, makes an appearance on shorts and shirting, whilst ever-popular camouflage gets an outing in the form of the multi-camo ‘Cooper’ blazer and double-knee pants. The duality of military wear and tailored suiting is one that McNairy has played with before, and this effort looks nice with the jacket’s contrasting lapels and inside pockets. As for the double-knee pants, it’ll be interesting to see how those look on, considering how effective McNairy’s rebellious placement of patterns has been in previous releases.
The highlight of the collection for me, however, comes in the ‘Dot Varsity’ jacket. Polka dot has been popping up everywhere at the moment, but those sleeves really stand out against that stone body. Like some of BBC’s mainline items, it’s brave, but it’s also confident and benefits from a restrained approach by the designer.
Simple pieces like the ‘Space Cowboy’ and ‘Dress Down’ shirts bring the release more in line with other contemporary menswear brands, ensuring Bee Line’s tripped-out offerings remain grounded. Subtle embroidered branding runs across several pieces and the Bee logo already feels like a strong extension from BBC’s mainline, while a collection of slick graphic t-shirts solidifies their unity.
Upon first hearing about McNairy’s upcoming work with Billionaire Boys Club, I had been curious to understand what it was that the designer had hoped to bring to the table. He had made a name for himself in fashion with brattish offerings that challenged the creaking, aging rules of other adults around him, so what business did he have with the boys?
As it happens, BBC has noticed the changing shape of fashion and introduced a new, slicker line to satisfy a customer that is becoming increasingly interested in looking sharp rather than flashy. McNairy’s own discipline shows a youthful disregard for many of the sartorial world’s antiquated norms, so he was a logical choice to help ‘Bee Line’ find its own middle ground.
The Billionaire Boys Club brand remains as divisive as ever, but McNairy’s offering sheds light on an avenue that takes the brand in a fresh, new direction, and it will be interesting to see how this collection performs alongside the main line in the future. Enjoy the pictures and check out the BBC website to see more pieces from the collection at their online store. Peace!