The 2018 New York, London, Milan, and Paris fashion weeks wrapped yesterday. Collections for ready-to-wear, couture, menswear, resort and pre-fall were all presented at high standards and wowed the fashion world. This year, designers across the board repeated a trope, using American cultural influences in their fashion week collections, and we’re calling it Americana.
The U.S.A. is undoubtedly the biggest influencer in the fashion, music and television industries, as well as social media platforms. It’s estimated that American content caters to a market of over 2 billion English speakers. This content is spread worldwide, allowing it to continually fall into the loop of desirability and popularity.
In the 90s, Americana fashion adopted local skate culture, focusing on streetwear themes and teen influences. Home-based brands including Ralph Lauren and Tommy Hilfiger are known for their classic American designs, recently adopting flannel and varsity inspirations into their new collections. 2018 Americana has developed a more neutral, sober colour palette and streetwear aesthetic, with some designers incorporating patchwork, washed out colours and sneakers galore.
Last month at New York Fashion Week we saw many talented designers showcasing new collections that featured Americana themes, with their own unique twist on the usual patriarchal colours, stars and stripes. Calvin Klein was one of the biggest and most anticipated shows of the week and it did not disappoint! The Klein team and Chief Creative Officer Raf Simons creating an emotionally deep and outlandish show. Simon’s work showcases his own past, present and future influences; he uses memories and future visions to create his designs.
The collection included the use of bright orange HV (high visibility) utility textile, silver foil, knitwear headpieces and a twist on the old-style American prairie dress. Within a barn setting, this runway took a dark turn on symbolising the American lifestyle and wasn’t the picturesque image of American culture everyone clings onto.
Popular amongst younger celebrities such as Paris Hilton, Sophia Riche and Niki Minaj, the Friday afternoon Monse Show was the place to be. Designers Laura Kim and Fernando Garcia created a collection full of American cultural influences. The catwalk was on a basketball court, with the atmosphere of an all American pep rally. The collection was filled with sport-themed jersey wear, stars and stripes. Garcia explains that the collection is simply “Americana unhinged from a foreigner’s perspective.”
Milan Fashion Week was also splashed with designers adopting American cultural influences in their collections. DSquared2, by brother designers Dean and Dan Caten, have created an American rodeo collection with a glamorous twist. This western style show was full of cow print, leathers, sheepskin, denim, cowboy inspired hats and heels resembling cowboy boots. The dresses took a bohemian edge, with feathers, floral, faux furs and mix matching of different prints. Kendall Jenner and Bella Hadid were amongst the models that graced the American themed catwalk.
Given the state of the U.S. at the moment, notably the political maelstrom caused by Trump and the socio-political fallout of the Weinstein saga and #MeToo campaign, the question remains is this focus on Americana a comment on the current state of affairs, or a nostalgia for less fraught times?
What are your thoughts and what was your favourite Americana look from the 2018 fashion week collections? Let us know below!