When I was in high school, I owned three pairs of cowboy boots and half a dozen eagle-embroidered button-downs and was always searching for a new bolo tie to add to my collection. But before you picture a non-bionic Dolores Abernathy, know that I always stuck to a rule: no more than one piece of cowboy kitsch at a time. (After all, ninth grade is cruel ground on which to demonstrate one’s love of suede fringe.)
Fast-forward to the fall/winter 2018 runways, where designers embraced the west—but with none of my Grade 9 restraint. Isabel Marant gave us the modern answer to the looks in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly with blanket coats and bandit scarves with a dash of French insouciance. Things took a moodier turn at Alberta Ferretti with flat-brimmed hats, studded belts and black leather—if the fall runways were a Western film, Ferretti’s model crew would definitely be the bad guys. And at Chloé, designer Natacha Ramsay-Levi’s patchwork satin blouses and furry fringe offered a more whimsical take on the style.
Away from the runways, indie brands like L.A.-based Dôen and buzzy newcomer Batsheva are peddling this season’s It piece: the prairie dress. High-necked and printed with micro-florals, it’s the chicly feminine al-ternative to the typically masculine overtones of cowboywear. So why is it suddenly cool to look like a Westworld extra? Perhaps it’s another chapter of the escapism narrative that fashion provides or a return to a nostalgic and easily idolized type of Americana. Whatever the cause, it’s the season to head west, sartorially speaking—but this time, I won’t limit myself to just one piece.
This article appears in the October 2018 issue of ELLE Canada
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