Our country has a long history of fiercely independent free thinkers—like these 21 trailblazing talents behind America's biggest and most boundary-pushing fashion brands. Here, they reveal the inspirations for their fall collections, and how they see our nation now.
"The Sillhouettes imply a sense of action. We referenced our memories of New York—from music to street art—celebrating the energy and feeling on the streets today."
Dress, price upon request, wide bracelet, $725, narrow bracelet, $625, sandals, $910, Proenza Schouler. Top, $625, skirt, $4,950, necklace, price upon request, rubberized cuff, $385, sandals, $910, Proenza Schouler.
"I was thinking about dance and spontaneous movement. The unexpected combinations of textiles and colors and expressive hand-drawn prints create an eclectic glamour."
"Not one era, not one thing, not one look—it is the coming together of different characters and different individuals, just like America itself."
"I was inspired by a nomadic spirit, an exotic sophistication—contrasting pure shapes with rustic textures, shades of the desert, and artful, one-of-a-kind jewelry."
"I never draw anything and don't work with themes or mood boards. We let the color and material decide everything, from shape and volume to design." — Lak
"I wanted the collection to be luxurious but not wasteful. Using existing fabrics and materials was a very important part of the process." — Hearst
"We were inspired by 'Charlotte's Web' and used dome studding, lace, and sequins to mimic the idea of dewdrops on spiderwebs."
Jacket, top, skirt & belt, prices upon request, Rodarte. On eyes: Maybelline New York The Colossal Big Shot Mascara.
"The sexiest thing a woman can wear is her boyfriend's clothes. To us, if she doesn't look like it took her five minutes to get ready, we didn't do our job well." — Kim and Garcia
"The collection was based on the idea of Gesamtkunstwerk, a German word meaning 'a total work of art.'" — Browne
"The goal is for the clothes to empower her and make her feel beautiful, but never outshine her." — Maxwell
"There is a certain 'pop' quality, especially for evening, that is a bit reminiscent of the '60s Warhol beauty that Edie Sedgwick possessed." — Ford
"We referenced the early- 1980s hip-hop scene of New York City, specifically Jamel Shabazz's book 'Back in the Days,' and we cut this against a nostalgic look at the American landscape."
"We wanted to go back to the things that Oscar loved the most: clean shapes and bold embroidery."
"I like the idea of dressed-up casual clothes. I watched a documentary on hip-hop, and the style that came from that scene lent itself to that idea. It started with track pants, short dresses, gold jewelry, and hats."
"We focused on female power and confident eroticism, with clothes fixated on delineating the body and bringing together an aggressive, resilient tribe of debauchers."
"I was thinking about power, strength, and modernity, all through a very sensual lens. I wanted a wardrobe that was chic and glamorous but had this sense of protection and coziness."
"It was all about effortless silhouettes with feminine detailing. To me, the less complicated, the more modern."
Fashion Editor: Enrique Campos | Hair: Tuan Anh Tran for R+Co at Art Department | Makeup: Campbell Ritchie for Lancôme at Art Department | Models: Xiara Waller at Fusion Model Management; Danielle Ellsworth at The Society Management | Location: Hankins Farm, Virginia
This article appears in the July issue of Marie Claire, on newsstands now.