by Stephen Garner

John Elliott‘s fall/winter 2019 men’s and women’s collections take a trip up the Golden State coastline, pulling away from sun-streaked and arid Los Angeles and landing in a mistier, earthier—though no less alluring—San Francisco Bay area. The lineup hits a personal chord for Elliott and his womenswear lead, Cara Campagnoli: they were raised in Northern California, and together, they’ve channeled the region’s distinct ruggedness and semi-nostalgic vibrancy into what Elliott calls a manifestation of a “dream home”—drawing inspiration from both the indoors, and the wild.

A sweep of influences are apparent: a color scheme of cloudy moss, sea-smoke gray, dried-wood taupe, and churning Pacific blue captures the ambiance of vistas seen from Big Sur cliffs, while jolts of black and neon orange invoke the more industrial, urban zones of San Francisco greater. In this regard, nylon has been washed—in a technique that took two years to master—to mimic denim. With high to low gradients, and subtle patchwork details in relief, the effect also suggests something of a weathered impression; instead of fading in the Venice Beach sunlight, this new impression gives off more of a broken-in vibe, as if the garment has long trekked through temperate climes and foggy mornings. Other pieces, in French terry and cotton, feature a double or triple dyed application; garments with a black base, which are then bleached in spots, only to be over-dyed with indigo. The aesthetic evokes the undulating, slightly denser light of a Northern Californian dusk.

The references move indoors with novelty prints on polar fleeces—with linear tabs or mosaic blocks—that recall Elliott’s grandparents’ house in Fairfax, California. “Heirloom items”—those things that carryover and stay in our minds, from what we see and live within our childhoods—inform and anchor this season, and lend the collection an especially personal depth.

In considering the balance of living—both indoors and outdoors—Elliott approached a new collaborator this season: Caterpillar, the all-American industrial equipment company. In Elliott’s concept, Caterpillar links with this fantasy-slash-memory of a “dream home” by adding an element of utility and of construction; the link-up stands as a metaphor for growth. The “CAT” logo appears throughout the collection (including as an embedded photo-reactive intarsia on a jumper), while textile development is also part of the partnership—lightweight perforated jersey material and reflective taping evince Caterpillar’s more function-focused roots.

Both men’s and women’s silhouettes are relaxed and fluid; a sense of ease and focus on fabrication is always close to the John Elliott core. Jackets—from trenches to bombers to workwear-inspired—are styled over cuffed-at-the-ankle and slouchy trousers.

Additionally, ongoing collaborations return: there is a new colorway of the Lebron James x Nike x John Elliott Icon; shearling fringe jackets made with Blackmeans; Suicoke closed-toe polar fleece slides and the company’s first ever boot; and M.A.R.S. jewelry, including chain pearl drop earrings and leather rope necklaces.

In the spring, John Elliott will open his first flagship store on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles. Select items from this season’s show will be available exclusively at the location, as well as