Browse all

The eternal return of American aesthetics

When before Aimé Leon Dore there was J. Crew

The eternal return of American aesthetics When before Aimé Leon Dore there was J. Crew

Less than a year has passed since the appointment of Brendon Babenzien as the new creative director of J. Crew, the brand founded in 1947 by Mitchell Cinader and Saul Charles and symbol of that American aesthetic that in recent years, thanks to the success of brands like Aimé Leon Dore, has seen a huge revival in a transgenerational revival that seems to have pierced the space-time bringing back to life the lookbook of brands like Ralph Lauren, Brooks Brothers and J. Crew itself. A sensation also confirmed by the lookbook of the first collection signed by Babenzien for the American brand, a series of photos signed by Jeff Henrikson in which the main inspiration of the new work of the former Noah is clearly visible. "Mfs wanna be ALD so badd lmfao" someone comments ironically on Twitter alluding to the obvious similarity between the shots of J. Crew and those that have helped create the myth of Aimé Leon Dore and Teddy Santis: warm colors, minimalist set and a preppy aesthetic that recalls the New York of the '90s.

Between Cosmo Kramer and Chandler Bing, the oversize shapes and geometric patterns tell of yet another aesthetic revival in the past, this time too for TikTok jerseys where the fashion of thrifting has brought back trends and aesthetics that we thought we had left behind. Reminiscing about the past seems to have become the winning recipe for the relaunch of those brands that well before Teddy Santis had made New York in the 90s an icon of style told in the catalogs of brands that, were it not for some discoloration due to the passage of time, would pass the test of time without any problem. Twenty years on, the cyclical nature of trends has turned back the clock, bringing back to life those lookbooks in which the protagonists of Dawson's Creek posed wearing J. Crew knitwear between one boat ride and another, while Ralph Lauren unwittingly built the base for the set design of the next ten years of American fashion. A charm that has also conquered ERL, which for the lookbook of its latest collection has disturbed the aesthetics of the American high school, including cheerleaders and football players once again underlining the undisputed and eternal charm of the American twenties between the '80s and '90s.

It is no coincidence that Eli Russell Linnetz, the founder of ERL born right at the beginning of the 90s, was called by Guess to try to restore luster to another giant of American fashion that ended up out of the loop with the passage of time. A pattern that over time has also involved Abercrombie, which with Aaron Levine had embraced the style of New York 90s, but more trivially also GAP, which lost its popular appeal that had made it great in past decades had to resort to the help of Kanye West to find a new boost. Although the aesthetics of Yeezy Gap is far removed from the rest, what emerges is the eternal and undeniable return of the American aesthetic in fashion evoked by those same brands that years ago had helped to create it and that now, when the algorithms of TikTok and the cyclical system of trends have brought it back in vogue, are forced to return to those who had absorbed that aesthetic thanks to a catalog of J. Crew and a campaign of Ralph Lauren.