GUESS USA: A STORY OF LOVE, OBSESSION AND IMMORTALITY
LIKE ALL GREAT STORIES, THE TALE OF NARCISSUS IS ONE ABOUT LOVE, BUT WHILE ECHO FELL IN LOVE WITH NARCISSUS, NARCISSUS FELL IN LOVE WITH HIMSELF. LN-CC REIMAGINES THE CAUTIONARY GREEK MYTH FOR THE 21ST CENTURY, SWAPPING THE FOREST FOR A DISUSED BRUTALIST YARD, THE LAKE FOR A CUSTOM-WRAPPED BMW E30, AND THE PROTAGONIST’S ANCIENT ROBES FOR THE GUESS USA SPRING/SUMMER 23 COLLECTION.
The wind whistled through the dilapidated car park, its lurching bouts of violence sending ripples across the slate pool. A frigid grip wrapped around the discarded inhabitant of the abandoned yard, but the woman was as unaffected as the glossy portrait that punctuated the car’s midnight paintwork. So engrossed in her own image she had become immune to pain and discomfort. Pedestrian pangs of hunger and shivers of cold had withered away, unable to compete with the allure of self-admiration. Her devotions broken only to maintain a rotation of outfits. The garments are a carousel of overdyed denim and aged leather decorated with sun-faded abrasions and weathered patchworks.
In a previous life, she might have been a Nevada bride, stumbling out of a neon-lit chapel towards an ill-fated road trip, marching on until the thrum of a whirlwind romance had faded to a hollow echo. Now, she was the chief disciple of her own exaltation, forsaking everything to capture a flawless representation of self, to adore it, and to preserve it for eternity.
Unrequited love is unbearable and unwanted devotion is embarrassing, who would be so foolish as to dedicate themselves to another when romance so often ends in heartbreak? For those that possess beauty and style, there are mirrors, selfies, and car bonnets.
Inspired by life in the Wild West, the neutral colour palette of thepreviousGuess USA collection has expanded to encompass flashes of vermillion and fauna prints in cerise pink. Nicolai Marciano’s second offering for the iconic brand retains its signature vision of the American Dream, as classic ranch tropes of tassels and faded denim are interlaced with subtle nods to broader symbols of West Coast mythology.
From Rodeo Drive to Route 66, the American Dream is an evergreen beacon of unchartered opportunity and self-determination. The narrative that emerges from Guess USA Spring / Summer 23, is a free-spirited and provocative riff of this enduring ideal.
Classic cut jeans are printed in a glinting chain print, the boisterous Cuban links a nod to the Compton-born gangster rap phenomena. Thigh-high boots in staple cracked leather are reminiscent of the patent ones worn by Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman, and chests emblazoned with diamante studded logos will forever be synonymous with the LA heiress era that commanded the noughties.
If Nicolai Marciano’s previous collection was a story of a free-spirited road trip across the country, this one is a fable of success and survival. The clothes feature raw edges and rust tints, arriving in faded washes with worn fringing, the effect is weathered but not jaded. Instead, the air of experience is joined by pastel shades, playful prints and provocative cuts that express a joie de vivre imbued with strength and sensuality.
Powerful femininity has always been inherent to the Guess brand, its iconic campaigns propelled to cult status by the celebration of iconic women and the lens of empowerment applied to female sexuality. Serving translucent jersey tees, a micro-mini skirt of layered belts and a near-impudent interpretation of a classic tulle wedding gown, Spring/Sumer 23 is another Guess-penned chapter in the folklore of the American frontier.
Like it’s predecessor, this season’s offering explores the expansive Guess USA archives from today’s lens. By collating the brand’s staple silhouettes and cracked leather with a more expansive approach to color and print, Nicolai Marciano immortalizes Guess USA in a series of snapshots that will live forever.
Credits Photography: Celia Croft @celiacroft Hair & MUA: Iga Wasylczuk @igavaseline and Keia Morrison @keiatamsin Photography Assistant: Yoan Zdravkov @yoan.zdravkov Talent: Lili Seroussi @lilimargueriteheidi Special Thanks: West London Cars www.WLcars.co.uk