Endovanera

Best New Fashion Label, August 2009

It’s called the “Wino Jacket.” David Hershberger sewed a low pocket inside a gray wool blazer and added a strap to hold the bottle in place. Gimmicky? You bet. But the jokes stop there for Endovanera, a menswear label that added women’s wear for this fall season. You’d never guess that the collection, in monochromatic neutrals, is made by an O.C. beach kid. Between the European-spy look of the capes, vests, and overcoats and the stark Echo Park studio that doubles as a store, the Endovanera operation seems more like the brainchild of some Belgian art school wunderkind. The setup may appear scattershot—designers for at least two lines share a space, job titles are elusive, a cat roams around—but what gets produced is exceptional. Giving a couture feel to the pervasive skinny trouser, Hershberger added spats-like buttons on the legs’ lower half. A double-breasted white shirt for men and a collarless long coat for women, each crafted with the same care for buttonholes as for overall structure, exemplify subtle ways Hershberger makes classics intriguing. The absence of style clichés is perhaps a result of his training: Never having set foot in a fashion classroom, he is self-taught.