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Backstage at John Elliott Fall '17 (MORE+ For Review)
Before the Internet boom, relationships were exclusively formed offline; sports teams, especially, have long been essential breeding grounds for fostering community. At the beginning of a new season, teammates are complete strangers, but by the end, they become family--armed with an acute understanding of everyone's differences, and how to capitalize on each other's individuality to win big. This social interaction inspired the athletic fall '17 lineup from John Elliott's American sportswear brand, shown this week at NYFWM.
Titled "Stretch The Floor," Elliott's presentation strengthened the brand's "elevated contemporary" identity, with his runway modeled after a basketball court and a live marching band opener. He played with traditional sportswear staples (warm-up jackets, tearaway sweats, fleece pullovers), and updated them through a slick sartorial lens--almost like a teen boy graduating into a more mature wardrobe. But nostalgia was at the core of Elliott's inspiration for fall, remembering the days he played basketball in his San Francisco hometown.
"I grew up playing basketball and aspiring to be a really good player," he told OUT backstage. "As a result of that, you end up finding yourself in uncomfortable situations, because you're pushing yourself. I would play on traveling teams with kids I didn't know--that didn't go to my school. You'd really learn about what culture was to them, while you sat in those stands. This collection is about the cultural exchange that takes place through sport, and it typically happens after you compete. So if you played against someone, you're more likely to speak to them--have a shared experience where you can sit and talk with them about, you know, what type of Jordans they wear, what type of pants they're wearing, what kind of food they eat, what kind of music they listen to."
Styled by longtime collaborator Eugene Tong (formerly of Details), models all looked like free agents wearing Elliott's fall '17 collection--a cohesive celebration of individuality, much like a team, shown through Tong's smart eye for layering. A classic grey suit was worn beneath a faded denim jacket and draped fringed knit; a nylon zip-up was worn beneath a cardigan and tailored blazer; a leather varsity jacket was styled under a grey sleeveless hoodie. Though Elliott's silhouettes were all familiar and accessible, his color story was luxurious and rich, offering deep green, purple and mahogany.
The core of John Elliott's American brand is "an eye for details that matter," the designer said. "It's putting in fabrics that are unique and hopefully unrepresented because custom make everything. It's putting in silhouettes that are basic, but with a twist--still wearable, but new. It's going to last in your closet for more than just six months. My goal is that, if you buy something from a collection, it's something that, not only you're going to wear for years, but hopefully you can pass it down to your kids."
Photography: Glenn Garner