Saturday 21 July 2018

How to wear... Americana

It was all riot on the western front this season, so it's time to go red, white and blue for winter, writes Meadhbh McGrath

A silky western shirt offers a handy ticket to all-American ease, and you can ground the look with jeans or block-colour slacks for a street-style-ready take on the trend like Kendall Jenner. Photo: Getty Images
A silky western shirt offers a handy ticket to all-American ease, and you can ground the look with jeans or block-colour slacks for a street-style-ready take on the trend like Kendall Jenner. Photo: Getty Images

Meadhbh McGrath

Road trips, apple pie, rusty railway sleepers: designers have often drawn on the imagery of classic Americana for collections filled with double denim, leather, suede and steel-toed boots. This season, fashion has gone west once again, but with an interesting twist.

Road trips, apple pie, rusty railway sleepers: designers have often drawn on the imagery of classic Americana for collections filled with double denim, leather, suede and steel-toed boots. This season, fashion has gone west once again, but with an interesting twist.

The election of Donald Trump has disrupted the meaning of such patriotic kitsch, prompting designers to present a modern interpretation of American iconography at New York Fashion Week.

At Calvin Klein, creative director Raf Simons offered playful riffs on western staples like quilting, indigo denim, cowboy boots and leather shirts, set to a soundtrack of David Bowie's 'This Is Not America'. "We're thinking about how to redefine American culture, particularly at a time like this," the Belgian-born designer explained a month after the US President's inauguration.

He continued the subversion of Americana in his spring-summer 2018 collection, pushing it into a darker theme with his own American Horror Story drenched in blood spatters and covered in body bags.

To complicate things even further, Simons' designs have a most unlikely fan in the form of Melania Trump, who was spotted in one of his red button-up shirts with gold epaulettes at the White House this summer. While she has a bit of a reputation for unintentional irony (remember that pink pussy-bow blouse?), it did raise questions about whether she was staging some sort of subtle rebellion in her wardrobe choices.As well as Calvin Klein, designers including Coach 1941, Henry Holland and Stella McCartney elevated classic American motifs like steel-toed boots, suede fringe, gingham and stars-and-stripes prints to high-fashion status. The vision wasn't so much nostalgic for the great Old West (or eager to 'Make America Great Again'), but a sophisticated and stylish reimagining of the western front - as seen on Christina Ricci in Calvin Klein.

Simons' designs have a most unlikely fan in the form of Melania Trump, who was spotted in one of his red button-up shirts with gold epaulettes at the White House this summer. Photo: Getty Images
Simons' designs have a most unlikely fan in the form of Melania Trump, who was spotted in one of his red button-up shirts with gold epaulettes at the White House this summer. Photo: Getty Images

Social commentary aside, what does it all mean for your wardrobe? You can take the look as far as you please: throw an indigo denim jacket on with jeans, add a double buckle belt to high-waisted trousers and a T-shirt for rugged cowgirl chic, or give sleek tailoring an edge by pairing this season's check suit with square-toe boots.

Take things up a notch by layering a white polo-neck under a leather shirt or double denim, our favourite styling trick from Calvin Klein's catwalk.

A silky western shirt offers a handy ticket to all-American ease, and you can ground the look with jeans or block-colour slacks for a street-style-ready take on the trend like Kendall Jenner.

There's already a whole host of cowgirl-approved prints in the shops, from red and white gingham to House of Holland's stars-and-stripes. Or you can play it safe by punctuating black ensembles with the reliable red, white and blue.

Studded jacket, €249 at Tommy Hilfiger
Studded jacket, €249 at Tommy Hilfiger
T-shirt, €265 by Stella McCartney at Brown Thomas
Studded jeans, €199 at Tommy Hilfiger
Christina Ricci in Calvin Klein. Photo: Getty Images
Christina Ricci in Calvin Klein. Photo: Getty Images
Shirt dress, €421 at houseofholland.co.uk
Shirt dress, €421 at houseofholland.co.uk
Red boots, €110 at Topshop
Cord jacket, €175 at & Other Stories
Studded bag, €29.99 at New Look
Studded boot, €145 at & Other Stories
Satin shirt, €49.95 at Zara
Satin shirt, €49.95 at Zara
Gingham shirt, €165 by the Kooples at Brown Thomas
Poplin shirt, €175 at Maje.com
Wool-twill shirt, €605 by Calvin Klein 205W39NYC at netaporter.com
Jeans, €54 at M&S
Jeans, €54 at M&S
Gingham trousers, €33.75 at prettylittlething.com
Trousers, €31 at Next
Red jacket, €27.99 at Bershka
Red jacket, €27.99 at Bershka
Leather dress, €395 at Maje.com
Double buckle belt, €19.99 at H&M
Square toe boots, €59.95 at Zara

Irish Independent

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