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Vaquera AW16
Backstage at Vaquera AW16Photography Thomas McCarty

Vaquera shut down NYFW with anarchic show

Models snog strangers, bare nipples and put their cigarettes out in the audience’s drinks as the Dazed 100 designers stage a ‘landmark’ show

Although Vaquera didn’t have the closing slot at NYFW, on Wednesday night their riotous AW16 offering certainly shut it down. Patric DiCaprio and his new recruits David Moses and Bryn Taubensee staged their show at China Chalet, a Chinese restaurant in the Financial District, taking inspiration from 80s and 90s Westwood and McQueen shows where models danced, held hands, or flipped off the audience.

While it might be hard to imagine, Vaquera took this provocation further – models and nodels alike drank the audience’s drinks at random, put their cigarettes out in said drinks, ground on the laps of suited men, tripped only to then get on all fours and whip their hair, bared nipples to which ice cubes had just been held, snogged each other and willing strangers, lifted skirts, and swirled – all to screams (of delight).

These were screams of relief too – the relief that comes from not seeing another staid show following the arbitrary runway rules imposed upon designers. Who made those rules anyway? Who knows? Who cares? Vaquera definitely didn’t.

“Vaquera is about a community of people who aren’t afraid to say ‘Fuck industry standards, we’re going to do this our way’” – Patric DiCaprio

The show music (mixed by Spinee) blared out from the speakers at something like 150bpm, with songs like Thast’s “Rep Ur County,” Waka Flocka’s “Fuck Dis Industry,” Princess Superstar’s “Perfect,” with interludes from America’s Next Top Model’s Aswirl Twins and Truck Turner (1974).

As for the clothes, it was a case of Victorian and Pierrot elements turned autumnal; hand towels from the designer’s bathrooms made into tops and skirts; NYU Hospital’s baby blankets made into slips; plain white athletic socks turned into bags with clasps; brocade coats; evening gowns; velour coats and snoods with embroidered texts like “Raquel, take that fucking jacket off”; waffle fabric bellbottoms; and from the run of show itself a “Harlequin Freakum Dress.”

DiCaprio was jubilant backstage, citing the presentation as a pivotal moment for the label. “This collection was a landmark – not only was this Vaquera’s first collection by David, Bryn, and me, but it was the first collection that felt absolutely complete. Vaquera is about a community of people who aren’t afraid to say ‘Fuck industry standards, we’re going to do this our way.’ We wanted to prove that a runway show isn’t just a way to make sales, but a celebration of the models, crowd, craft, and our team. I think we proved that.”