In 1999, the year after he launched Sean John, Puff Daddy became the first public face for how hip-hop could be haute couture. The rap mogul appeared opposite supermodel Kate Moss in Vogue, resplendent in furs and billowing overcoats, conquering Paris as Kanye West has in recent years. “I think the whole fashion culture changed with that Puff Daddy moment. I think Kim and Kanye are at the other end of that chain,” said Grace Coddington, creative director at large, to The Washington Post. Yet if Puff established how a rapper-producer, too, can appear so editorial, West, thanks to Yeezy Season, is more so proof of how high fashion’s relationship with streetwear is cozier than ever.
Call brands like Hood by Air, Off-White and Vetements whatever you want — streetwear, or, if you find that as constricting as the term “urban” — luxury sportswear. Either way, long gone are the days where high fashion merely appropriated trends, like when brands try their hand at baggy “hip-hop” trousers. Now, high fashion is catering specifically to hip-hop tastes, making everyday items with extreme craftsmanship. (Perhaps designers are, at last, listening to ‘Ye. “Sweatshirts are fucking important,” he said to Vanity Fair after Yeezy Season 2’s runway debut.) Fashion houses, not to mention Bergdorf Goodman, are now attempting to become one-stop shops for luxury streetwear outfits.
Such behavior is only further closing the gap between two worlds, as shown by five streetwear trends it co-signed this year.
In recent years, FILA has been re-releasing vintage sneaker models like the Cage, the classic basketball high-top, along with throwback track jackets. Last fall, in the spirit of collaborations with Calvin Klein and Adidas, Urban Outfitters tried to further make people nostalgic for FILA’s ’90s heyday with an exclusive retro-inspired collection. But by and large in the United States, FILA is a sportswear brand largely taken for granted — unless you’re Andre 3000, living in a city where ‘FILA’ also stands for “Forever I Love Atlanta.”
Such isn’t the case for Moscow, at least according to Commes des Garcons-backed designer and Vetements member Gosha Rubchinskiy. For his spring/summer 2017 runway show, he thought back to the aftermath after the fall of Communism, when the local skater boys were listening to music from abroad. Along with a host of other labels, including Levi’s, Rubchinskiy’s teenaged models wore FILA sweatshirts and socks, as if they weren’t newborns during the designer’s own adolescence. “FILA, Gosha. For me, it’s very punk,” Rubchinskiy said to W. For fashion critics, FILA provided yet another effective glimpse into this rising designer’s past, as well as our own.
MA-1 bomber jackets have been a streetwear staple since punks appropriated it from skinheads during the mid-1970s. Mainstay brands like Stussy and Supreme have also long churned out their own reinterpretations, by the time Kanye West bought a hundred bombers to outfit himself and his Yeezus tour crew. (To some controversy, his olive green jackets were customized with Confederate flag patches, a good two years before South Carolina removed its own battle flag from outside its Statehouse after 50 years.)
Around the same time, Christian Dior and Louis Vuitton released their own reinterpretations over the past few years. Brands toyed with the bomber silhouette — making it sleeker, or even more oversized like Raf Simons with his Pyramid version — to where its military origins were barely recognizable. But this year was when the bomber seemed to have replaced the classic trench completely, at least by high fashion standards.