“If you wear Eckhaus Latta, you can be yourself and just feel good – it shouldn’t be a defining thing, you should be defining things... this should just help you define yourself.” So said designer Mike Eckhaus following Eckhaus Latta’s post-apocalyptic AW16 New York Fashion Week show last night. The design duo who appeared on this year’s Forbes list presented their otherworldly collection in a planetarium-looking dome at MoMA’s PS1 gallery in Queens – truly setting the scene for their ethereal and art-inspired show. In true Eckhaus style, the collection was modelled by New York’s new generation of diverse models including Barbara Ferreira, India Menuez (who walked hand-in-hand with an excited child wearing mini EL), Juliana Huxtable and #Dazed100 star Alexandra Marzella. “I think it was just a continuation where it was like we like people of different bodies, of different ages, of different genders, of questionable gender spaces, being open to people who are people,” Eckhaus explained when asked about highlighting the “different” this season.
Although Mike and design partner Zoe Latta didn’t cite any specific inspirations or references behind the collection, it felt like an off-kilter Tatooine uniform, with an earthy, muted palette consisting of tan, grey and orange. “The collections never have a source of inspiration and I feel like a lot of it is just like playing with certain forms and roles, and building up on things that we had done last season,” Eckhaus noted. "It’s so nice to have ideas germinate in one collection and know you’re going to do it again a couple of months later and be like, ‘What didn’t feel clear? What do I still want to explore?’ I feel like this season, a lot of it was stuff you can have every day – that formality of jeans, but how can jeans be more than jeans? How do you do it like a bit more dramatic and fluid and make it an evolution? It’s like giving things different spaces to exist in.”
“If you wear Eckhaus Latta, you can be yourself and just feel good – it shouldn’t be a defining thing, you should be defining things...this should just help you define yourself” – Mike Eckhaus
Indeed, this collection was an evolution of their previous, with pre-existing shapes updated in new textiles and colours. Jeans with side flaps and no-collar shirts reappeared, while new silhouettes like giant oversized fur coats and origami folded mini-dresses made a debut. The collection was simultaneously wearable and abstract – the runway juxtaposing everyday pieces like logo tees and beanies with signature EL art creations like the deconstructed pink wool set. New materials like the Matisse-esque “face print” fabric, lush fur and crushed velvet gave existing silhouettes a new dimension. “It’s very intuitively done,” Eckhaus noted in reference to their design process. “It’s a lot of intuition and our gut and questioning each other, and having a really open, critical dialogue. (We are compelled by) what we want to wear, what we want to see our friends wear, things that we’re unsure about, that feel ugly.”
In addition to EL, their previous interns (and #Dazed100 designers) Moses Gauntlett Cheng officially presented this season, applying their knowledge from their mentors Zoe and Mike to their own line. But don’t expect any kind of rivalry – “It’s so fucking cool, we’re so excited,” Eckhaus explained of MGC’s recent success. “It’s so weird, cool and amazing to see people that interned with us have their own lines and the energy to be like ‘we really want to do something’, you can figure out how to do it, and there’s a process to that, but it’s not a certain craft. It’s fun to do your thing and feel good doing your thing and hopefully, people will also like what you do.”