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“I believe it was thanks to New York that I became a fashion designer,” says Stephen Ferber, Creative Director of Stephen F. “The friendliness and the warmth of the New Yorkers and the intensity of this city inspire me in every possible way. I am never really lonely here. New York never tires me.” The view from his showroom on the sixty-third floor of a Hell’s Kitchen skyscraper cuts right through the very heart of it, New York, New York.


This is Manhattan as Mondrian portrayed it with his last completed work, the great Broadway Boogie-Woogie (1942–43) – New York City as the ultimate electrifying state of mind, with its bouncing rhythms, energetic colours and surges of excitement (though he straightened out Broadway to fit his ideas about linear order). The grid painting was Mondrian’s thank you gift to the Museum of Modern Art and his new hometown.


Red is the colouristic theme for The Thank You, New York City Collection. “Red is the great clarifier – bright, cleansing, and revealing. It makes all other colours beautiful,” wrote Diana Vreeland in her book DV (in which she described the perfect red as “rococo with a spot of Gothic in it and a bit of Buddhist temple”).


The Stephen F showroom is very close to Broadway, but even closer to Tenth Avenue where the traffic moves uptown. At dusk the taillights of the cars produce an incessant stream of red.


Mr Ferber applies his “vice versa language” whenever he is challenged by notions of the so-called impossible – like the claim that men cannot wear red: “A colour cannot be masculine or feminine in itself. Red becomes masculine together with what you wear, how you speak and how you move.” The Thank You, New York City Collection includes pieces such as red suede pants and red tuxedo jackets, and a sporting line of casualwear inspired by his favourite team, the New York Rangers.


The keyword for Stephen F is balance. Mondrian said that he wanted to achieve “an environment, not merely utilitarian or rational, but also pure and complete in its beauty”. (Yves Saint Laurent, who owned a Mondrian painting, created the famous robe Mondrian as the signature piece for his autumn collection in 1965.) The Collection comes from the same view and the same source of energy that generated Mondrian’s greatest work of art: a supreme love for New York City.