From left to right: Michael Kors, Eckhaus Latta, Monse.
Photo-Illustration: The Cup; Photos: Courtesy of Michael Kors, Don Ashby, Fernanda Calfat / Stringer / Getty Images
At New York Fashion Week, sex is the order of the day. Not all collections have excitement as a driving force, with the sex parts of the body fully exposed or barely veiled, but it seems a logical response to our plague year. In fact, I would say it is the phrase that seems the most primary today, partly because it reflects a radical change in attitude and partly because it resists the rhetoric that surrounds so much fashion. , from inclusiveness to “community empowerment”.
A number of American designers have already embraced this new freedom – let’s call it that – including Maryam Nassir Zadeh, newcomer Elena Valez, who shows a lot of skin, and of course LaQuan Smith. And anyone who has been away from New York for the past year and a half can’t help but notice the change on the streets, or at least off the fashion shows. Bare belly, under the breasts, side breasts, see-through skirts – that’s fairly standard, and it’s not just for the young or idealized body type.
Photo: Courtesy of Michael Kors
But two collections, Michael Kors and Eckhaus Latta, expressed sex with particularly clear clarity. Kors, whose label over the past decade has grown into a mega-brand – his holding company also owns Versace – is too concerned with his dominant and almost healthy image to get dirty, but he doesn’t have to. It’s implied in Kendall Jenner’s black stretch bra and pencil skirt, her red lips. Or in the many round lace skirts and off-the-shoulder necklines. Kors’ theme was urban romance – “love is in the air,” as he put it. The show took place in the lush garden of Tavern on the Green, made more lush by the huge pink heads of long-stemmed roses that were crammed into the greenery. He invited actress Ariana DeBose to sing cabaret numbers. And each guest received a box of four super moist chocolate brownies.
Photo: Courtesy of Michael Kors
Go on. The show might have been more effective if Kors had relaxed the sexuality – loosened some of those Barbie ponytails. (That’s right, the belted waist, pedal pushers and gingham check shirts, and delicate flower-filled bucket bags might be interpreted as a subversion of feminine glamor, but that’s Miuccia Prada’s game, not Kors’s.) The point is, Kors recognized a change and mobilized his design and branding skills around it.
Photo: Don Ashby
So far, the collection of Mike Eckhaus and Zoe Latta is for me the most interesting of the spring 2022 ready-to-wear season, because of its ease and naturalness, which of course is a big part of its sex appeal. As Eckhaus, who works in New York, said, “With the people wearing our clothes, it’s not about feeling too complicated in a piece of clothing. “
And as Latta, who works on the West Coast, added, explaining their motivating idea this season, “How could we make less clothes that were better?”
In a sense, Eckhaus and Latta went back to their roots, to the simplicity of some of their earlier designs, and then refined them using the skills and knowledge they’ve gained over the past decade. The refinement is manifested in the precision of the cut, the choice of materials or distinctive treatments, such as an opaque nylon-like fabric for off-white pants or chartreuse jeans subtly shaded in black. The designers opened with a series of muddy gray pieces – a minidress, top and pants set – that had tiny snaps tracing the stomach, say, or the curve of a thigh or armhole. These could be detached to partially reveal the body, or detached and removed completely. Other designers in the past have done this sort of thing, but Latta and Eckhaus have done it with a rare sense of economy.
Photo: Don Ashby
This economy is also linked, I think, to what a lot of people think of high fashion. They want it to take up less space in their life. Yes, be as visible as crinkled fuchsia knit pants and a matching sleeveless top, but also comfortable and a little offbeat. Eckhaus and Latta capture this balance perfectly.
I asked the creators if they had noticed more nudity in the streets as well. “We definitely see it,” Latta said. She stopped and smiled. “But also, I don’t know – I just had a baby and Mike has had a really hot girls summer, to put it mildly, and I just think we want clothes in a different way. We’re really open. to something less.
Photo: Courtesy of the coach
That was not the message elsewhere. At Coach, held at Pier 76, Stuart Vevers reprized his Coach TV parody, with Chaka Khan making an appearance as the cranky horoscope reader. Coach TV was something Vevers used to hilariously during lockdown, and on Friday he combined a large digital screen with a parade featuring skateboarders spinning among the models. The problem, oddly enough, was the inspiration for the clothing: the tall Bonnie Cashin, who designed for the brand in the ’60s and early’ 70s. Her oversized shapes, mainly for a plethora of outerwear , seemed to drown the models and certainly killed any idea of sexy pleasure.
Photo: Getty Images
Monse’s Laura Kim and Fernando Garcia also had a skate theme, with swim shorts, cargo pants, and colorful knits that spanned the shoulders. But at least their clothes still looked loose and fresh, with the best elements being tight knit chenille dresses and a black tank dress cut in ribbons from the hips down and trimmed in black lace.