Men’s – The Final Frontier. ERL AW21

Eli Russell Linnetz is the fresh, Californian blood in Paris. The multi-hyphenate visual artist, stage designer, photographer, and director, Linnetz began working on his own label, ERL, at the encouragement of Dover Street Market’s Adrian Joffe and Ronnie Cooke Newhouse. Now in its third full season, the collection has expanded: it includes ERL takes on everything from swimwear and long-johns (quickly becoming the “it” item of the men’s season – see Prada!) to tuxedos and silver puffer pants. Linnetz makes apparel for everyday life which is far from being basic. That seemingly infinite potential is what makes the things Linnetz does do all the more interesting. Titled “The Final Frontier,” his autumn-winter 2021 collection riffs on the Space Age, the psychedelic 1970s, showy 1980s culture, and a sort of timeless collegiate Americana that always permeates his work. The thread that marries such disparate items as a frat sweater and spiky ski bum hat is Linntez’s irreverent sense of humor. A sense of levity and surreal bit of nonsense is welcome in the at-times far too serious world of fashion. Linnetz’s intimate photography and cast of true Cali beach boys only help make the case for his clothing. Scantily hanging off the dudes’ bodies, the clothes telegraph the laissez faire lifestyle of the West Coast. Wide wale corduroy jeans have a constructed slouch, hoodies feature seaming that mimics wave patterns, and fluffy shearling is actually made from a new corn-fiber material to be more sustainable. The collection also includes a ski collaboration with Salomon, neoprene cowboy belts, and a full range of swimwear. There’s an element of costume, of dressing up, and of changing your clothing to change your life. It’s a sort of everyday escapism, finally available to menswear.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

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