Courtesy of Khaite
Self-reflection may end up being one of the biggest trends of New York Fashion Week. It’s notable how many designers have mentioned looking inward, taking care of themselves, taking stock of what’s important, and realigning their definition of success.
No doubt part of that is the almost Sisyphean path to success that today’s independent fashion brands face. Puppets & Puppets founder Carly Mark, creator of the hit cookie bag, told The New York Times earlier this week that she can no longer sell clothes in New York and that she will move to London to focus solely on accessories; Elena Vélez, who will not have a traditional show this season, has also spoken in the media about her financial difficulties as a young and lively designer.
More broadly, and perhaps cynically, mental health awareness is increasing, particularly among Generation Z, who studies have shown support brands that support wellness.
Khaite is undoubtedly one of New York fashion’s recent success stories, led by two-time CFDA Women’s Designer of the Year award winner Cate Holstein, who has created a powerful brand mystique, riding a wave From successful expensive accessories and modified wardrobe staples season after season to become a retailer’s favorite, she gained financial backers and opened two stores of her own.
For fall 2024, however, even Holstein focused on self-reflection: quite literally, as it happens, staging her show in a black box space at Pier 61, with a glittering, mirrored catwalk that reflected the models as they They walked. .
“It’s something that I think is on everyone’s mind,” Holstein said backstage about looking inward at what to her were youthful thoughts about her sophisticated mother (“she put on lipstick the moment she woke up, kept it on his nightstand”) and trying to live more in the moment, even when things go wrong, since the birth of his own son.
Those sentiments were woven into the clothing in hauntingly beautiful silk gazar sleeveless blouses with long, billowing skirts and goddess-like dresses that covered the body, capturing a moment in time, and finished off with long opera gloves. “It was a full dress that while the model was lifting it up and we were fixing her shoes, I said, ‘Don’t move,’ and we went in and pinned it and reworked it,” Holstein explained of a sparkly black dress. dress.
Elsewhere, the designer launched a series of covetable new versions of her brand mainstays: sculptural leather coats with big, rounded shoulders, in super cropped and flared silhouettes or elongated and puffed hems. There were new paperbag-waist skirts and pants to pair with boxy tailoring, luscious faux furs (some in lipstick red for her mom); Scarf silk prints and sheer chiffon whispered fine dresses that floated down the runway like a memory.
The message was in the strength of vulnerability, which is Khaite’s style.
“I have had some major changes in my life over the last year and have entered a point in my life of true calm and happiness,” said the designer, proving that everyone’s life, no matter how rosy it may seem, is your own journey. “Sitting happy is funny, in some ways it’s harder than misery. It can be a little scary. So I’m trying to train myself to sit happy.”
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