Designer: John Elliott
Location: New York Fashion Week
Key Pieces: Bomber jackets made from experimental fabrics, quilted washed nylon trench coats, paint-splattered workwear trousers, box-pleated Thumper jackets in washed denim and soft twill, and a new LeBron sneaker.
Editor’s Notes: During a shared cab ride, John Elliott and Cara Campagnoli, his recently appointed womenswear director (previously at Calvin Klein 205W39NYC), discovered their grandparents were friends who knew each other in San Francisco. That coincidence came to inspire the new Fall/Winter 2019 collection, which is equally inspired by ideas of home, construction, and nostalgia for a childhood house that was always a bit different than how you remembered it.
An old wallpaper becomes reinterpreted into a cozy patterned pile fleece jacket and vest, a packing blanket and wall insulation are re-contextualized into an outerwear fabric so thick, Elliott says the factory broke thirty needles bringing it into fruition. He admits that America isn’t really in the highest of sentiments at the moment, but as an American label, what he’s trying to do is look to the past as temporary respite from the present.
He tacitly points out that in this tumultuous political climate, people either want to escape from reality or fight against it—so in a way, this nostalgia-tinged collection isn’t about remembering “the good old days” of Americana, but rather rekindling those childhood memories where you didn’t really have to worry about the big picture too much. It’s an apt metaphor for people who similarly lose themselves in the rabid fandoms of comic books, anime, and even sneakers and streetwear as a coping mechanism.
That desire for the golden years manifests in a golden colorway of the LeBron Icon QS sneaker, and the fashion show, held in a seemingly under construction setting at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, was the perfect place to show this season’s collab with Caterpillar, the tried-and-true workwear brand. The construction theme isn’t just about old homes though, it also celebrates a new one. John Elliott is planning to open his first flagship store in Los Angeles this year, located on Melrose Avenue. If this season is any indication, longtime fans of the brand should feel right at home.