Go West!

Fashion is consistently referential of various time periods, with the gun-slinging cowboy culture of the 19th Century Western Americans in the spotlight this season. Think back to iconic figures including Gene Autry and Roy Rogers, who reinterpreted aesthetic themes of the pioneers, mountain men, and the Civil War to create a modern-day cowboy image that can be seen penetrating the high-end runway shows.

The western influence runs deep in the Dolce & Gabbana show, with designer Stefano Gabbana looking to the vistas of Sergio Leone’s spaghetti Westerns for inspiration. Western motifs of six-shooters, cacti, waggons, cowboy hats, horsemen, and lassos adorned garments throughout the collection with a series of embroidered patches. For example, the double denim combination which resembles a colour most akin to Resene Explorer.

Fausto Puglisi has established himself as a designer who creates performance pieces, and this season is no change. The direction for this season, however, is somewhat different, with Puglisi making an active effort to incorporate everyday trends and wearability as a core concept in his design practice. The result is a collection that inadvertently tied in subtle western patterns mixed with conceptual digital print designs. This jacket, in a colour similar to Resene Quarter Alabaster, is the closest tie to the western trend, using metallic studs and the boot spurs motif to achieve a distinctive masculine effect – not to mention the blatant use of cowboy boots throughout the collection.

Manish Arora also used the same western pattern ideas and paired them with cowboy boots. This oversized jacket in a colour relatable to Resene Sakura served as the perfect canvas for the heavily detailed vest that sits on top of it. Overall the entire outfit is a platter of western patterns, details and signatures, once again being paired with the classic cowboy boot.

Heading in a different direction, Mary Katrantzou used western patterns and contrasted them against not only modern fabrics but modern digital print technology. The leather jacket is an interesting mix of cowboy and biker paired with the fashion forward ­­micro-pleated, digital print skirt and tied together by the use of light blue akin to Resene Skydiver, which appears on both.

Republican candidate Donald Trump’s campaign motto “Make America great again,” implies that the country is no longer the star-spangled super-power it once was. Jeremy Scott took this as an opportunity to remind fashion followers of the great periods American fashion has had, taking the audience on a journey through key stylistic periods, western included. Denim, disco, punk, cowboys morphed into a collection that paid tribute to the country’s history, a theme that is in perfect alignment with Scott’s over-the-top design aesthetic. While fringe and leather is a clear western derivative, the introduction of bubble gum pink similar in colour to Resene Quickstep on the otherwise normal cowboy boots is where the audience can see historical moments collide.

While double denim is not usually considered formal, Demna Gvasalia, the creative director for the collaborative fashion brand Vetements, looked at what would be considered formal in the world of western fashion and reimagined it in his avant-garde vision. The pop of red, which is similar to that of Resene Blaze, stopped what could have been a boring, oversized denim jacket from being lost amongst the other outrageous silhouettes that also showcased on the runway.

There is an aura of luxe that comes with every Gucci collection, a brand that has long been a top player in the luxury fashion scene. However, with the appointment of creative director Alessandro Michele, the brand has taken a new direction. The new selection situates itself somewhere between highbrow and low culture, allowing for experimentation with different silhouettes and pattern choices, which is evident in this animal print fur coat. What is interesting with animal inspired prints and furs, is the gradient of colours that appear. For example, the black is not just black; it incorporates a range of shades, one of them being parallel to Resene Half Bokara Grey.

Maria Grazia Chiuri, one of the designers for Valentino, summed up the collection as a journey. “It’s about groups. About On the Road, Into the Wild. It’s about a trip around the world but also into yourself.” The collection drew close links to both cowboy culture and Indian-American heritage, appropriating various pattern designs from both. Much like the other designers, the Valentino show also used metallic detailings and used natural colours, like Resene Momentum, to keep the range grounded.