Just in time for summer, award-winning Canadian designer Christopher Bates launched his latest collection inspired by none other than TOP GUN. The line features fabulously well-crafted pieces that showcase not only Bates’ creative eye, but pays homage to the iconic ‘80s film that is resurging in a massive way thanks to the popularity surrounding revivals across film and television. Paramount brought TOP GUN back with a bang, thanks to Bates’ unique and fashionable contribution to the franchise through his unparalleled designs that bring a whole new level of fun to the TOP GUN world.
Bates, alongside actress Sonia Rockwell and his brand’s director Michael Evans, hosted a star-studded soiree in Los Angeles at sbe’s Nightingale in June to celebrate the collection. From a pop-up shop to a fashion show, the evening featured thematic activations and opportunities for guests to immerse themselves in the world of Christopher Bates through a TOP GUN lens (aviator lenses, of course!)
Here, the renown designer chats exclusively with us about the collection and reimagining the TOP GUN world.
What inspired you to create a full collection centered around Top Gun?
I was meeting with Paramount execs around the time when the trailer for the new TOP GUN: Maverick film first came out. We were remarking on how epic it looked when we came up with the idea for a collaboration. I submitted my designs and proposal to their head office and was fortunate to obtain a license. I decided to focus on a core capsule collection featuring bomber jackets, sweatshirts, tank-tops, hoodies, t-shirts, and aviator sunglasses.
How long did it take to create from creative conception to execution?
It took us around 6 months to get from conception to completing our first production run.
How did you work collaboratively with Paramount to bring this to life?
Paramount was involved every step of the way, so it was a true collaboration. They have an amazing, detailed brand guidelines document which helped drive my design process. They also provided all the vector artwork for the logos, patches, and name badges from the original film, so we were able to recreate them to spec.
What about Top Gun speaks to you from a fashion perspective?
Military uniforms, such as the flight suits and bomber jackets worn in the US Navy have always been inspiring. For our TOP GUN bomber jacket you’ll notice details from both, for example the flight suit style chest pockets and the rescue orange lining. We also recreated the embroidered patches and name badges and placed them in the same positions as on the flight suits for our bomber jackets and sweatshirts. Additionally, aviator sunglasses and dog tags have always been part of my personal style. We also created a tank-top specifically dedicated to the iconic volleyball scene in the first film.
So many iconic trends make comebacks. What elements from 80s style do you still love and think are just as relevant today?
I grew up in the 80’s and the style is actually what inspired me to become a fashion designer. I loved (and still love) the neon and pastel color palettes, surf and skateboard style, exaggerated shoulders, power suiting, and excessive glam. It was the best decade for fashion as evidenced by the proliferation of references you see alive and well over the decades since.
Tell us about the event and the fashion show. How exciting was it curating this experience to showcase the collection?
The launch event was honestly a dream come true. Top Gun is one of my all-time favourite films. To design the collection, produce a runway show, and celebrate the spirit of Top Gun is a career highlight. Nightingale is a fantastic venue, perfectly situated in West Hollywood. I’m very grateful to SBE group and their team for hosting. Special thank you to Rusty Morrone and Deborah Maguire for making it such an epic evening.
The pieces in the collection are so chic and fun for elevated street style looks. How do you hope people style the looks from the line and wear them out this summer?
Well, I think there are two ways to rock the pieces. First, you can go all out in 80’s style. For example, you can pair the blue bomber jacket with the white Top Gun logo T-shirt with a pair of acid wash blue jeans, white sneakers, and accessorize with dog tags and our aviator sunglasses. Or, you can be more contemporary and wear the black bomber jacket over a plain black t-shirt, with black fitted jeans, and brown chelsea boots.
What are some of your favorite/most meaningful pieces for you from the line?
The black (stealth) bomber jacket, volleyball tank-top, and aviator sunglasses are the most special to me.
Are there any other films you want to create an apparel line around next?
I’m happy to announce my next collaboration with Paramount Consumer Products for The Godfather. It’s the 50th anniversary of the original film this year so we’re gearing up to launch the collection this fall.
What’s next for you / what projects are you excited about right now?
Right now I’m focused on TOP GUN, The Godfather, and my own Christopher Bates men’s and women’s collection. This is plenty to keep me very busy and motivated.
Presented by: Ascend Agency