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Is touristcore the new must-trend?

A dreamy travel aesthetic for a the post-pandemic world

Is touristcore the new must-trend? A dreamy travel aesthetic for a the post-pandemic world
Martin Parr x Gucci
Martin Parr x Gucci
Martin Parr x Gucci
Martin Parr x Gucci
Louis Vuitton FW21
Louis Vuitton FW21
Louis Vuitton FW21
Louis Vuitton FW21
Louis Vuitton FW21
Duane Hanson
Duane Hanson
Martin Parr
Martin Parr
Martin Parr
Martin Parr
Martin Parr x Gucci
Martin Parr x Gucci
Louis Vuitton Pre-Fall 2021
Louis Vuitton Pre-Fall 2021
Louis Vuitton FW21
Louis Vuitton FW21
Loewe FW21
Loewe FW21
Martin Parr x Gucci
Martin Parr x Gucci
Martin Parr x Gucci
Martin Parr x Gucci
Martin Parr x Gucci
Martin Parr x Gucci
Martin Parr x Gucci
Martin Parr
Martin Parr
Martin Parr
Denzel Washington
George Clooney
Jerry Seinfield
Johnny Depp
Luke Perry
Wesley Snipes
Woody Harrelson
Kate Moss
Gwyneth Paltrow
Halle Berry
Kate Moss
Kevin Bacon
Nicholas Cage
Tyra Banks
Whitney Houston
David Letterman
Christian Slater
Martin Parr
Martin Parr
Martin Parr
Martin Parr
Martin Parr
Martin Parr
David Bowie & Iman
Sophia Loren
Julia Roberts
Whitney Houston
Elizabeth Hurley
Cameron Diaz
Andy Garcia
Anthony Kiedis
Brad Pitt
Woody Harrelson

Clumsy, trafelate, badly-dressed – so in 1988 the artist Duane Hanson represented, in a series of hyperrealistic sculptures, the stereotype of the tourist. Their boisterous clothes, which sacrificed aesthetics to practicality, were for his time the maximum expression of a kitsch taste that, in the years of mass tourism, guided tours and cameras hanging around his neck like jewels, the artist used as a criticism of the consumer society. But that same "tourist aesthetic" that Hanson, but also a photographer like the Englishman Martin Parr, had captured with so much precision and irony forty years ago, made of oversized garments, vibrant and maximalist patterns, sneakers and cargo shorts, took on new cultural meanings. In recent times, thanks to the rise of streetwear and the de-formalization of dress codes in an ironic key – a very wide aesthetic shift often called "aesthetics of the ugly" has taken place and, with the new meanings that the dimension of travel will take on in the post-pandemic world, prepares to emerge as a style in its own right that we could define, in the absence of a better term , the touristcore.

Duane Hanson
Duane Hanson
Martin Parr
Martin Parr
Martin Parr
Martin Parr
Martin Parr
Martin Parr
Martin Parr
Martin Parr
Martin Parr
Martin Parr
Martin Parr
Martin Parr
Martin Parr

But why should touristcore become so popular in the post-pandemic world? The answer concerns the new value system that encourages consumers to prefer concrete experience to the mere possession of a luxury material asset. A study by the McKinsey Institute recently noted that tourism is one of the sectors most subject to so-called revenge spending: at the end of the travel restrictions, in China, expenditure on tourism suddenly exploded by 90% with 75% of young people, 77% of adults and 78% of pensioners who said they were strongly eager to travel after the lockdown. A desire that, in the population, does not change if we analyze the western continents and that, in Italy, has found expression in an exaltation of domestic tourism by the mainstream media (remember, above all, the episode of Chiara Ferragni who promotes the Uffizi) and in a desire for escapism and travel manifested with the flourishing of accounts such as @italysegreta that exalted an experiential dimension of travel while remaining foreign to the traditional aesthetic categories of the world of luxury.

Louis Vuitton FW21
Louis Vuitton FW21
Louis Vuitton FW21
Louis Vuitton FW21
Louis Vuitton FW21

In short, the new touristcore aesthetic will not be too far from the gorpcore and loungewear that we saw become popular between 2015 and 2020. Its key, in terms of design, will be the utility that, borrowed from the gorpcore world, with its technical fabrics, its strategic pockets and its details based on practicality – but it will be the context that will change: fashion has discovered the mountain clothing of 2020, the next likely step will be to interpret an even more generalized and wide desire for escapism that will bring it , metaphorically and not, to explore many different scenery and imaginary related to the nonchalant and sincere style of modern tourists. Another characteristic feature will be the hybridization between classic sartorial elegance and relaxed fit - a type of union already widely explored in numerous collections of the FW21 season but still too close to loungewear. 

Loewe FW21
Loewe FW21
Louis Vuitton FW21
Louis Vuitton FW21
Louis Vuitton Pre-Fall 2021
Louis Vuitton Pre-Fall 2021

A type of aesthetic that Virgil Abloh has already begun to study with his collections of Louis Vuitton Pre-Fall 2021 and FW21, both dominated by the visual leitmotif of the airplane and the journey, as well as by the inscription "Tourist vs. Purist" that starts from the idea of the tourist as a symbol of the outsider who explores a new field of existence and art. Jonathan Anderson, with the second part of his FW21 collection by Loewe, also recalled a somewhat awkward and colorful aesthetic, overflowing with suitcases and bags that recalls the tourists of Duane Hanson and Gucci, who not by chance chose Martin Parr to photograph the Cruise 2019 collection in the book WORLD as well as for the Gucci Watches campaign.

Martin Parr x Gucci
Martin Parr x Gucci
Martin Parr x Gucci
Martin Parr x Gucci
Martin Parr x Gucci
Martin Parr x Gucci
Martin Parr x Gucci
Martin Parr x Gucci
Martin Parr x Gucci
Martin Parr x Gucci
Martin Parr x Gucci
Martin Parr x Gucci
Martin Parr x Gucci

The casual outfits for which Shia LaBeouf and Thimotée Chalamet have become a style icon and the so-called airport looks of the late 90s that are posted every day by numerous moodboard pages on Instagram all represent a glimpse of this trend, which is today just beyond the event horizon. Specifically, airport looks represent a very particular sub-genre of street style, as they mix comfort and informality needs with luxurious accents as well as with the charisma of the international jet-set that immortalized stars usually carry with them. The only difference will perhaps be that the performance element of gorpcore will be cushioned, as well as certain overly elaborate inflections of streetwear while a kind of stylistic naïveté would be increased that evolved exotic and holiday atmospheres or, depending on the inspirations, a more normcore-chic aspect of Parisian imprint such as that imagined by Hedi Slimane for Celine's women's collections – a case, in short, of substance-over-style.

Johnny Depp
Jerry Seinfield
Whitney Houston
David Bowie & Iman
Sophia Loren
Julia Roberts
Whitney Houston
Elizabeth Hurley
Cameron Diaz
Andy Garcia
Kate Moss
Gwyneth Paltrow
Halle Berry
Kate Moss
Woody Harrelson
Christian Slater
Brad Pitt
Anthony Kiedis
Tyra Banks
Nicholas Cage
Luke Perry
Denzel Washington
George Clooney
Kevin Bacon
Wesley Snipes
David Letterman
Woody Harrelson

Before the pandemic, in fact, the world of travel represented a cultural sector in its own right but it always remained related to a luxury dimension that today is decidedly antiquated. Travel and tourism, however, were reinterpreted in 2020, the year of closures and smartworking, in an escapistic and naturalistic key with the gorpcore trend – the one that transported the aesthetics of mountaineering and hiking into fashion, paving the way for the entry of the utility world into that of luxury. Gucci x The North Face's recent capsule and Arc'teryx's huge viral popularity in the inner sanctums of fashion communities are just two of the best examples last year of a new aesthetic category of which touristcore could be the next step. In fact, if the world of tourism and that of luxury have been in close communication since Louis Vuitton packed its first suitcase, the street and tourism world tell the tastes of a massified and more democratic society with which the new concept of luxury that has characterized fashion in recent years flirts already years.