If you stop and think about fashion, like cuisine, the French and Italians come to mind first. Whether your mind goes to an haute couture gown by John Galliano for Christian Dior, or haute cuisine by Eric Ripert, the Europeans have seemingly cornered the market. But if you take a trip down memory lane to the 1980's (when I was wearing rompers and onesies) American designers really set the stage to take over a seemingly undiscovered part of the fashion market: sportswear.
One can hardly think of American fashion without conjuring up images of Ralph Lauren's ads, complete with American flags, horses, and women donning velvet trousers in cornfields. And what would 20-somethings wear if not for sportswear? This year, in the last few days before Christmas, I can't help but stare under our mini tree at the iconic navy Ralph Lauren gift box with green watch plaid bow peeking out at me. I've picked it up for weight, gently shaken it for sounds of cashmere, but I can't figure out what jewel lies beneath the preppy exterior. My closet is mostly a mix of what makes American sportswear the world staple that it is- denim, boots, pencil skirts, fine wool, cashmere, blazers galore, and touches of leather and exotic skins in the form of belts and shoes. Anything from Ralph would be a welcome addition. Michael Kors and his campaign of cruise-worthy advertising is also irresistible when dreaming of Americana. A killer wool sheath with sky-high stilettos, tortoise bracelets, and printed scarf, and you've got the Kors woman in the flesh. I think Ralph dressed me head to toe in college, and perhaps Michael has been lending a hand in the days that followed.
American sportswear has left an indelible mark on the fashion world. Just as Tom Colicchio has reconceptualized new American cuisine with his assortment of Craft restaurants, American designers have been re-carving the fashion landscape since the 80's and show no signs of slowing down for SS10.