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Moses Gauntlett Cheng AW16 Pastoral Shepherd New York
Backstage at Moses Gauntlett Cheng AW16Photography Evan Schreiber

Moses Gauntlett Cheng: piggybacks, model mums and monobrows

The Dazed 100 stars put on a show that epitomises their gender fluid, nipple-freeing vision – and features designer Esther Gauntlett’s mother

Moses Gauntlett Cheng presented their AW16 collection last night in a red-lit, smoke-machined suite overlooking Hoboken. Other designers similarly sequestered in Milk Studios included Namilia and Fengchen Wang who, like MGC, found success at the VFiles SS16 runway. As usual, MGC broke the rules, and rather than have a standing presentation – as every other designer did – they chose to have a full-blown runway show. 

At this point in time, it seems needless to say that the clothes were gender-fluid, and that the cast contained no tokenism – a defining aspect of MGC since their inception. Even Gauntlett’s mother flew in from Australia to make her second NYFW appearance. The combination of casting and styling by Tess Herbert made some of the models at first read meth-chic, but as the show progressed, soul-cycle chic was a more apt descriptor. 

The collection, in a phrase: Combat Club. Said club could have been right across the Hudson – the background was also the foreground. One model rode the shoulders of another for the entirety of the show, as if injured in a trench. Business pumps or combat boots were the two footwear options. Belly button rings, nipple tassels, and chokers all made by Faux/Real were the stand out accessories. The nipple was nowhere unfree. 

“One model rode the shoulders of another for the entirety of the show, as if injured in a trench. Business pumps or combat boots were the two footwear options. The nipple was nowhere unfree”

Mesh mini-dresses, plunge hoodies, tweed bras or no bras at all were a few of the garments that saw MGC deviate from their expertly tailored garments, knitwear and at times minimalistic aesthetic. Wool in the form of a woman’s business blazer was used in tandem with lilac taffeta to reiterate the utility/club theme. Mini dresses and bras garments made to be light and airy were instead made of wool. 

Never Step Where You Have Fallen was the subtitle of the press release, which we’ll let speak for itself. Another title that comes to mind is American Pastoral, set in Hoboken. In it, the daughter of an all-American businessman radically deviates from what is expected of her, wearing what her father calls “scarecrow clothes,” and “sharp clothes for whores,” unwittingly complementing her sense of style. 

From Esther herself, after appearing from the smoke: “(This collection’s) about mysteries, mistakes, reluctance, and frustration but putting on a coat and dealing with it.” Often referred to as an underground brand, it was confirmed tonight on the 8th floor that they are on the rise both literally and figuratively.