J.Crew, 1989

In its attempt to garner some of the Good Life via Ralph Lauren-esque historicist antics, J.Crew ‘s makeshift Americana time machine bizarrely finds itself not in the romantic farming towns of New England or the hustle and bustle of The Ranch, but instead in the quaint, though joyfully so, Western United states, coming by way of Conestoga wagon in flight from political enemies, in tow with the gospel of Moroni. The images of their 1989 campaign ooze an earnest prudishness, the kind only had from zealous religious piousness ala the Orthodox Jewish value of Tzniut, or, and more similar in their rural context, Amish Mennonites. Yet this rendition carries with it such a specific meme, or some weird  attempt at developing one; an American ideal that reads more like a retro recruitment poster for the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Days Saints than it does as an ad for contemporary, heritage inspired sportswear. No frills, to-the-point and down-to-earth, rosy cheeked and youthful; it’s a celebration of a unique American experience that does not easily lend itself for fashion reference. Scandalous in a union suit, expressive in plaid, and outright élan in dour shades of gray, it is just as sobering as an icy water rinse  of the face on a brisk autumn morning on the plains .

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