The tourist aesthetic is specifically unfashionable; a way for Middle American dads to boldly declare, “I don’t fit in here and I don’t care to.” It serves as an excuse for boorish or generally irritating behavior. It also loudly signifies to locals – those “in the know” – that the wearer is to be avoided at all costs.
It’s unsurprising that tourism chic was one of the biggest (if not the biggest) trends on the European Spring/Summer 2018 runways. After all, just about every other dad-centric, traditionally unfashionable look (insert your various “cores” here) has been given the luxury treatment in recent seasons. Some, like Louis Vuitton and SSS World Corp, whose debut collection was aptly titled “Aloha From Hell,” based their entire collections around the tourist aesthetic, while others dabbled – a Hawaiian print here, a sock with a sandal there.
While the office and dorky dad looks are about fitting in, the tourist look is about standing out. It incorporates our prevailing desire for practicality – a thin, short-sleeved button down is a comfortable choice for warmer weather and a passport and wallet fits snugly into a fanny pack – while adding a much-needed dose of optimism. Tourist swag signifies escapism and a desire to let loose and have fun; something that, let’s face it, we could all use a bit of these days. And, as many of our most beloved designers illustrated, it can also look damn cool.
Here are the many ways in which dad’s tourist look permeated the runways.
The Hawaiian shirt is the backbone of any good tourist’s suitcase, so naturally the runways were teeming with them. While Balenciaga, Paul Smith and SSS World Corp (who upped the ante by layering contrasting prints) offered solid takes on this vacation (not to mention skate park) staple, the most coveted variation came via Louis Vuitton, who updated the look with logos and organza overlays. Hawaiian shirts are best kept loose and halfway unbuttoned, for a look that effortlessly blends Miami gangster with dad at the beach.
Hawaiian prints weren’t just for button downs. Flowers and palms adorned coats, pants and shorts. We saw head-to-toe tropical prints at both AMI, where a bold Hawaiian work jacket was paired with matching Bermuda shorts, and Alexander McQueen, who offered a looser, hand-drawn version of the classic print. While a head-to-toe print is not for the faint at heart, it takes the notion of standing out to its natural extreme. Meanwhile, Dries Van Noten’s clothes were awash in muted versions of the tropical graphic.
Fanny Packs & Luggage
We’ve already sung the praises of the fanny pack (sorry, “Roadman bag”), so we were delighted to see them cropping up on the runways. Louis Vuitton’s two-toned monogrammed version is sure to be a favorite (and a nice fallback for those who couldn’t get their hands on that one from the brand’s Supreme collab) as is Prada’s colorful take. But if you’re not feeling the fanny, Fendi’s leather tote is another functional travel-friendly option. Meanwhile, Vetements showed no-frill backpacks at its deeply ironic “No Show” presentation – yet another staple for dorky tourists.
Flip-Flops & Pool Slides
Though they aren’t our favorite footwear option, flip-flops and slides were everywhere this season. Vuitton and 3.1 Phillip Lim had them paired with socks for maximum dad steez, while Haider Ackermann had a gladiator version that tied around the ankle. Admittedly, the classic flip-flop looked uncharacteristically cool at J.W. Anderson.
Lightweight, waterproof and easy to pack, the windbreaker is a must-have for any sensible tourist. Balenciaga and Kenzo plucked their windbreakers straight from throwback family photos, rendering them in blinding block colors. Hermès offered an ultra-luxe version in green and Lanvin’s simplistic oversized iteration came in both khaki and black. Even on vacation, when it comes to dad swag, function always trumps fashion.
Flip-flops weren’t the only footwear designers culled from dad’s travel wardrobe; clunky runners were everywhere, which was especially fitting for the numerous outdoor presentations (or in Dior’s case, Astroturf). The best of the bunch came from Y/Project, whose brown runners are so wrong, they’re almost right.
Khakis were another common thread this season and true to dad form, with many fitting in a pleasingly questionable manner. From oversized at Acne Studos, GmbH and Louis Vuitton to full-blown khaki rompers at Birkenstock, this travel favorite was everywhere. Complete the look with a classic brown belt.
While we loved Louis Vuitton’s puka shell necklaces and bucket hats, the most touristy runway accessory of all was children. Kids stormed the runway (and the non-runway) at both Balenciaga and Vetements. After all, a tourist look is only truly complete once you’ve embarrassed your kids by wearing it.
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