“They discovered an area on Pluto in the shape of a heart,” said Michael Bastianduring an appointment at his West Chelsea office today, surveying his Fall collection’s mood board. “The universe was telling us something—so we just went down the road of astronomy nerds . . .”

An interstellar romantic streak mixed with an academic-but-adventurous sensibility? For Bastian, the notion succeeded, and, in its own way, it catalyzed a welcome tone-down in preppiness. Here were clothes ready-made for a weekend in the country—but for staying home and stargazing through the telescope, not for shooting clay pigeons or enjoying a South Side–soaked lunch at the club. “It’s sort of the bane of our existence . . . we’re kind of put into the bucket of, ‘Oh, they’re the preppy guys,’ ” said the designer. Hence, the adjustment.

Sweaters came in delicious cashmere weaves but with galactic intarsia motifs (hazy Pluto, contrasting constellations, a four-point star in Lurex). Bastian and his team also developed a print inspired by the cosmos-etched ceiling of New York’s Grand Central Terminal (one button-down even had it replicated in the station’s turquoise-and-gold color scheme). A hooded coat stole the show; its chunky metal hardware and Casentino pre-pilled body (“an Italian hunting fabric,” clarified Bastian) might’ve been the most streetwise thing the man has ever come up with. A close second was a slim-fit pant with a cargo pocket on the front left thigh.

It’s important to realize, though, that Bastian will never not be preppy. Prep is part of the brand’s DNA. The shapes and the cuts and the silhouettes are all relatively safe—he makes luxurious clothes for a certain type of (arguably fashion-conservative) man, the kind of guy who might also look to Brunello Cucinelli and Loro Piana in rounding out his wardrobe. Yet Bastian regularly achieves all of this with glimmers of rambunctious youth—that twinkling Lurex star being his own little way of going “out there.”

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