Flannel Escapes Its Grunge Past

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Up until last month, in Barbara Gladstone’s Chelsea gallery, a sculpture of a cherubic boy stood on a plywood box, dressed in traditional attire of the American West.

This was Richard Prince’s return to reimagining the cowboy, a fascination of his since the 1980s, and it came with all the signifiers of an American wrangler (hat, boots, pistol, chaps).

Coincidentally, Mr. Prince’s sartorial choices for the boy are attuned to the trends of the autumn and winter seasons: The child’s blue plaid shirt, worn with baggy bluejeans, is very much in keeping with the flannel shirt now offered by Polo Ralph Lauren.

Other designers, including Junichi Abe of Kolor and Virgil Abloh of Off-White, have also reinterpreted flannel in their Western-flavored collections. Alternatively, the French brand A.P.C. and the luxury Italian house Brioni are making plaid flannels with a bit more polish, in sharply tailored cuts.

Whether cowboyinspired or European, the new offerings have little in common with the flannel shirts out of the Northwest in the early 1990s.

“I find this more interesting to talk about than Nirvana and Marc Jacobs’s infamous grunge collection for Perry Ellis,” said Bob Melet during an interview at his SoHo showroom, Melet Mercantile, a resource for fashions buyers, designers and stylists.  To continue reading click here…

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