Cult Menswear Maker John Elliott Is Launching a Women’s Collection.

When he embarked on his new women’s line, Los Angeles men’s designer John Elliott—known for elevated streetwear and his sneaker collaborations with Nike—was as befuddled as many of the menswear-turned-womenswear designers before him. A woman’s body, he quickly realized, is fundamentally different from a man’s. “It’s much more complicated and three-dimensional,” he laughed during a preview of the collection, which is set to debut next week alongside men’s. He said he instantly knew he could not simply create an extension of his cult-followed menswear. Instead, he would have to pull off something more akin to starting from scratch.

So he took a partial season off, did some hard research at the L.A. library, and canvassed the trusted women in his life. Finally, he found the catharsis he craved, emerging with a fully realized women’s range roughly one year after teasing fans with an ad campaign that featured a female model sprawled out in a men’s silk shirt. At this point, it’s so developed that he thinks next week’s runway will be evenly split.

Elliott’s woman, however, is no token or trophy. “She is not a delicate flower,” he stressed. “She’s probably cooler than my guy. She is confident and has a strong point of view.” The new collection suggests as much, an evolved vision mixing hard and soft. Think cropped nylon bombers, sophisticated trenches, loads of denim, some clever use of mohair, as well as some slip basics. A neon print of the casino strip in Las Vegas, lifted from a Polaroid Elliott took during a trip with his fiancée, formed the basis of several silk blouses, while intricate raglan shoulder seaming crossed back over the divide to inform a few men’s coats.

More than anything, Elliott is a fanatic for fabric research and custom development. He loves the trial-and-error process almost more than the eureka moment. As such, his treatment of materials has become his forte, a trademark from which he didn’t shy away when it came to women’s. A silvery coat in a tactile alpaca jacquard felt truly luxurious, almost ethereal. A flocky French terry with a raised Prince of Wales check pattern in felted houndstooth had a mesmerizing, more-than-meets-the-eye complexity to it. Similarly, Elliott was “going for distortion” with a coated linen, as seen in the long black jacket and knee-length skirt, which softly, lightly crinkled to the touch, belying its leathery appearance.

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