From the start, the nation music uniform has telegraphed the style’s evolution. Gene Autry’s 1930s cowboy get-up spoke to nation’s down-to-earth roots. Dandier silhouettes worn by Hank Williams within the ’50s developed in tandem with The Nashville Sound, adopted by the glitzed-out ’60s and ’70s outfits that channeled Dolly Parton camp. Garth Brooks’ Wranglers-and-Ropers strategy signified a return to down-home traditionalism within the ’90s. So with country-pop crossovers turning into a defining development of 2018, what has develop into of Music City’s latest cowboys?
They’ve gone mainstream.
The crimson carpet on the Country Music Association Awards in November echoed the adventurous textures and modern shapes which have flooded broader trade awards reveals. Florida Georgia Line’s Tyler Hubbard was decked out in Versace with punk-leaning chain steel particulars. Ryan Hurd rocked gold Dolce & Gabbana, accessorized with a barely seen Ofira Schwartz necklace. Walker Hayes was in prep-veering plaid, and Thomas Rhett in Dsquared.
With a couple of exceptions, like old-school nation stalwarts Brooks and Jason Aldean, gone have been the accoutrements which have put the nation in nation. Western dashes principally appeared in cowboy boots peeking out of tuxedo-pant hemlines (YSL’s ready-to-wear interpretation has develop into a favourite).
“Artists are feeling much less like they need to do the full-blown nation factor,” says stylist Molly Free, who referenced Heath Ledger’s Joker when cultivating an album-cover search for shopper Ruston Kelly in September.
“The great thing about nation music is this sort of ‘come as you might be’ [attitude],” says Joseph Cassell, who types Hurd, Maren Morris and Taylor Swift. “But folks in mainstream pop music have been taking dangers, and I like that we’re attending to see that in nation males now.”
Pioneering superstar stylist David Thomas flew to Nashville for the primary time in his 30-year profession to work with breakout artist Kane Brown. “[The country music world] has by no means been an space the place I’ve been in demand or significantly concerned about,” says Thomas, who additionally types John Legend and Lionel Richie. “But you may see there was a shift.” The mixtape aesthetic he and Brown developed spans double-breasted tuxedos and bomber jackets designed “to not pigeonhole him.”
Which is, in different phrases, constructing off the identical factor that Cassell and Swift, country-pop pioneer Glen Campbell and a dapper pre-outlaw Willie Nelson have been in a position to masterfully perceive: Crossover music is finest accessorized with crossover style. Expect a complete lot extra of it on the Grammys crimson carpet.
This article initially appeared within the Dec. 22 concern of Billboard.