Los Angeles-based designer John Elliott has firmly established himself as a menswear revolutionary—and a two-time finalist for GQ's Best New Menswear Designer in America—whose sport-meets-street-influenced aesthetic has helped define a certain look popular with young urbanites who want to look casual but stylish. But with summer on the horizon, it's time to remember that even those guys—with their elongated tees, skinny jeans, and oversized hoodies—like to hit the beach once the temperatures start inching toward triple-digits. Which means they need something casual but stylish to wear Oceanside, too.
This led Elliott and his team to release a swimwear-focused capsule as part of his Watching Water Season 9 collection that includes trunks, towels, bags, footwear, and headgear. The gear lands in two drops next week: Tuesday, March 14th and Thursday, March 16th.
Our brand is growing and with growth means taking on new product categories," Elliott said of this expansion. "Swim is an opportunity to have a discussion with our customer and to present our point of view in a new category." This means trunks adorned with abstract looking prints that take their cues from jellyfish and waves, and beach towels done in exotic Moroccan motifs. "This is our first into graphic and prints," Elliott says of the designs, which were inspired by his childhood trips to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. "It's a lighthearted answer to the question, 'What does watching water look like?'"
The labyrinthine towel designs are especially hard to come by, as they were sketched out by hand using protractors and compasses, yet the result is mesmerizingly maze-like and delivers a vivid punch. "The idea was that the Watching Water concept didn’t have to be interpreted as literally as being at the beach, for example, but could be as simple as watching a beautiful Moroccan fountain," Elliott says. Other highlights include the slide sandals made of Italian leather and which come in four colors (black, white, royal blue, and Kelly green); the side bag, which has covetable man purse vibes, in the best possible way; and the dad hat, which, well, undeniably cool.
To show off the goods in an appropriately beachy setting, the John Elliott team decamped to the ruins nearby the favorite hipster hotspot Tulum, a place well young city folk flee to catch some rays. In other words, it's exactly where the John Elliott customer would head to come July — or February, should he need a mid-winter break from the snow.
For Elliott, there was another, somewhat obvious, the reason to branch into swimwear: "Of course, from an early age you associate the beach with luxury."
Below, check out exclusive images of the Watching Water lookbook, available next week at on the John Elliott website.