Style & Fashion

Vaquera, CDLM, and Eckhaus Latta Have New York Menswear Figured Out

“You will see various banners throughout our site, if you click on a banner and purchase a product or service from them we may earn a commission.”

Tom Ford has only just begun his tenure as president of the Council of Fashion Designers of America, but he’s already radiating new energy. He’s made exciting new appointments to his board of directors, and then staged his Monday night show in an abandoned subway station. Tom Ford wants to fix the CFDA and the MTA? WATCH OUT, DE BLASIO!

This adventurous attitude seems to be infectious—or at least, it’s coincided with a lot of designers feeling loose and eager to try new things. One of the more exciting ideas on display was Monday night’s joint show between Vaquera, Sctn 8, and CDLM/Creatures of the Wind (the former is a not-quite-spinoff brand by Christopher Peters, who designs the latter brand with Shane Gabier), which was held in the extremely gold Masonic Hall (a favorite of Creatures of the Wind designers, who’ve shown there twice before. Which means maybe that Gabier and Peters are FREEMASONS?! There’s a hot and unfounded fashion conspiracy theory for you!). In womenswear, the art-school brand has replaced the anodyne contemporary market of aspirational design of a decade ago, with Eckhaus, Maryam Nassir Zadeh, and Rachel Comey leading the charge. Menswear, this season suggests, is coming along for the ride.

Vaquera is a brand that arrived with a bang but seems to have struggled to make it all add up in the past year or two. After the show, the label’s designers voiced a lot of frustration: this season, they were thinking about “being let down,” said Patrick DiCaprio, who designs the line with Bryn Taubensee and Claire Sullivan. Specifically? “The fashion industry has let us down in so many ways in New York, and [the idea of] being let down on Valentine’s Day,” he said. The show opened with a t-shirt reading “In loving memory of New York,” and included a number of wounded-in-love takes on their signature Surrealist garments, like a big heart cushion with a bow and a droopy, giant lace teddy, and even a woman stomping down the runway—a walk invented by casting director Walter Pearce of Midland Agency, a longtime Vaquera collaborator—in full mourning dress. It was sad, but also, you know, SAD!!! A big gray suit seemed to say, “Haha… you have a job…. Must be nice…” A guy in a pink shirt with tuxedo ruffles and red sequin shorts, like the Comme des Garcons pair Frank Ocean wore on the cover of 032c in 2017, felt like a surrender: “No bro, I don’t even skate [frown emoji].”

Sullivan said this season they wanted to use nicer materials, “like lace and lingerie fabric. We’re trying to get out of our stiff materials and move into finer things.” DiCaprio said they just wanted to make the clothes easier to wear, after freaking out for seasons backstage trying to lace up corsets and tying giant bows. Their optimism, as ever, was a lolsy jolt in New York’s pretentious-commericalist slog, but it really felt as if our hometown twenty-something-designers might, like the rest of us, be suffering from millennial burnout.

Vaquera was also one of the first brands to bring the DIY attitude and intellectual fangirling of art school spirit to the runway in a way that greeted corporate collabs and establishment approval with open arms. There are certainly a lot of kids in New York who see their stuff on the runway, dream about wearing it to China Chalet, and say HELL YEAH. But the China Chalet customer (forgive me, but it’s true!) is being pulled in a lot of directions at the moment. A ton of brands are sending men and women twirling and skipping down the runway this season in pieces that value clothes that look brainy and handmade, rather than things that look expensive and well-made—flowing forth from a playbook invented in the early ’90s by the artist Susan Cianciolo, who I guess, at the moment, is to the New York fashion world what Joan Didion is to every woman writing online. The king of all these brands is Eckhaus Latta, which is only two years older than Vaquera, but is stocked everywhere from Ssense to Nordstrom, meaning suburban kids across America can put their own spin on ceramicist chic.

“You will see various banners throughout our site, if you click on a banner and purchase a product or service from them we may earn a commission.”

Related posts

Shia LaBeouf and Lucas Hedges Brought Sweet Style to the Honey Boy Premiere

Cartier Tank Cintrée: You Probably Didn’t Hear Much About This Watch. That’s the Point.

The Best Gifts To Get At Old Navy

Leave a Comment