John Elliott‘s foray into womenswear, which debuted on Monday during New York Fashion Week, has been a year-and-a-half in the making. The demand has always been there: According to Elliott, 65 percent of his sales come from e-commerce, where 20 percent of that comes from female customers. While some purchases are likely gifts for husbands, boyfriends, brothers or friends, Elliott believes that there are women who are actually buying his namesake label for themselves. “That was the motivation during tough times,” says Elliott over the phone from Los Angeles ahead of his New York Fashion Week debut. “There is somebody out there who is looking for this.”
Elliott likened the design process to starting a company from scratch, and it was a humbling experience at that, including working on new patterns, sourcing new fabrications and learning how to drape and fit on a brand-new form. “For me, my big proposition in fashion is not so much trying to communicate messages through individual pieces of clothing, but rather make wearable clothes that are authentic to the life that I live,” says Elliott. “The women’s line is really an extension of that. It’s ready-to-wear at its core.”
Indeed, each look was certainly wearable, and also familiar — a cropped leather jacket with a silk slip dress, for example. It’s as if we just saw someone wearing something similar in a street style roundup or rather, in passing during our work commute. And while most of the women’s collection can easily be found elsewhere already, perhaps the one thing that’s worth holding out for is Elliott‘s ongoing collaboration with Nike. This time around, the designer revamped the sports brand’s Monarch sneaker (read: chunky dad shoe) in three new colorways.
But the signatures of his namesake brand were still present, as well, including three fits of denim, five different fabrications in jersey for T-shirts and a strong offering of knits — alpaca oversized sweaters, mohair crew necks — and leather. Elliott‘s affinity towards developing experimental fabrics also stood out, with waterproof waxed linen that came in the form of shiny, coated trench coats and iridescently hued skirts. “I thought it was really interesting to work with fabrics that are typically believed to be spring-summer fabrics and add processes on top to make them more appropriate for fall-winter,” explains Elliott. “In a way, I’m building a fall collection that’s still be authentic to Los Angeles.”