From the dustbowls of denim in the 1900s to the Wall Street power suits of the Eighties, fashion is constantly mining the tropes of Americana for inspiration and this season is no different.
WORDS BY RYAN THOMPSON
Kurt Cobain, Style Nirvana
The late Nirvana frontman will forever be the poster boy of grunge, often (and famously) pictured in distressed oversized cardigans. This season there are plenty of ways to tap into this teen spirit, but none better than Raf Simons’s voluminous jumpers and Alexander McQueen’s noirish distressed knits.
When it comes to collegiate style, there is no item more iconic than the varsity jacket. Its perennial coolness is evidenced by the fact that it has hardly changed design in over half a century. This season’s most interesting interpretations come from Junya Watanabe and Coach 1941, where Stuart Vevers gives it an intergalactic spin.
The Wall Street Power Suit
Wall Street was the financial wild west of the Eighties, where risk came clad in the relaxed tailoring of Giorgio Armani. Maybe it’s a sign that the global economy is slowly improving because that decade’s silhouette is back with a vengeance at Balenciaga, while at Juun.J another great Eighties motif – the pinstripe suit – is faithfully reimagined in the form of oversized overcoats, shirts and skinny tailored trousers. What would Gordon Gecko say?
Walk This Way...to Run DMC
Many a sneakerhead will argue that the culture for kicks was catalysed by Ricky Powell’s 1987 photograph of US hip-hop act Run-DMC with the Eiffel Tower in the background and three pairs of Adidas shell toes in the foreground. But Run-DMC were also the catalyst for the tracksuit (an AW17 must-have) making the crossover from sportswear to streetwear. Adi Dassler may have invented it, but US hip hop culture made the tracksuit all its own.
Although plaid originates from Scotland, it was quickly appropriated by the outdoorsmen of the US. In 1850, Woolrich created its red and black Buffalo check shirt and it’s still going strong on the runways 167 years later. This season plaid is evolving in many directions, sometimes used to take the formal edge off tailoring but mostly as a versatile layering piece when worn with denim and outerwear, as seen at DSquared2, Givenchy and Facetasm.