There are few brands with the history of Perry Ellis. Since the brand was founded in the late 1970s, they’ve been selling their founder’s vision of America to people all over the world. “Everyone here knows Ralph Lauren and Tommy Hilfiger as the Americana brands,” says Michael Maccari, creative director since 2014, “Perry was up there at that time.”
In 1984, Perry joined forces with Levi’s and Perry Ellis America was born. According to Maccari, this new label was “the answer to the casual portion of the line, it was just relaxed sportswear and then this was the cottony weekend wear component to that.” At this point, Perry Ellis America was one of the most famous and interesting brands from that side of the Atlantic. It’s aesthetic tied in to a whole movement that was going on and came to include “hip hoppy kind of anoraks and logo vehicles and things like that”.
Just two years after the launch of America, though, Perry Ellis died. According to Maccari, “the brand continued for a little bit, and then America went away for a little bit.” Even though Americana brands thrived through the 90s, without it’s founder and namesake, Perry Ellis America lost its place at the forefront of that wave of US icons.