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Vaquera SS17Photography Thomas McCarty

Vaquera’s twisted take on Americana

Back-to-school vibes and #bonnetcore: why Vaquera’s SS17 collection was all about graduation

This season, with the official addition of Patric DiCaprio’s longtime collaborators and friends David Moses and Bryn Taubensee to the Vaquera label, it reminded me of the ongoing game of musical chairs we’ve been witnessing in the larger world of fashion. See: Raf Simons crossing the Atlantic to take his place as creative director of Calvin Klein, Maria Chiuri going solo for the first time at Dior, and Anthony Vaccarello taking up Hedi Slimane’s mantle at Saint Laurent. While designers seem to always be planning their next big move, Vaquera’s SS17 collection held at Red Bull Studios was centered around the idea of graduation. “The theme ‘graduation’ was intentional, because we want to move to the next level, you know?” said DiCaprio. “We’ve been, in the past, lumped in with a lot of different designers – who we love – but we're excited to be on our own.”

Perhaps the united “we” is a pointed comment to the fact that the team of three have always worked together in some capacity on past collections – and the coming together has certainly not altered the Vaquera soup. The collection is unquestionably Vaquera as we know and love it — an abundance of ruffles, asymmetrical cotton blouses, awash with the familiar Southern pastoral charm. There are nods and winks of collaboration in all the right places, with a hint of –  dare I say it – #bonnetcore headwear (it was an early Moses/DiCaprio viral moment after all). Styled by Dazed’ senior fashion editor Emma Wyman, the SS17 collection itself is pure American back-to-school vibes: cropped sweatshirts emblazoned with ‘VAQUERA’ in varsity lettering, patchwork board shorts, cheerleader length mini skirts and nipple-baring togas.

“The collection is primarily about Greek life, but a lot of it was about Americana,” said DiCaprio. “We’re always into pushing the norm and including all kinds of people, so it’s our take on what should be American, versus the whitewashed Abercrombie version of American. There was none of that college label-type bullshit – it’s for a different kid.” This kid seems to aspire to more banal level of dorm-life cool — Vera Bradley quilted luggage-inspired accessories (“Vera Bradley is so awful to bring into this context,” added David), Superman, Rolling Stones and Che Guevara logos, pin badges, an oversized white college cap and gown— the list goes on. “We were kind of into basic-ness – referencing all these really over-used images,” Bryn explains. “Because we felt that stuff we had been doing in the past is being done way too much now. Like if romantic stuff is at Zara, then we need to move on to something that is too uncool for anyone else to want to touch!” The most tongue-in-cheek part of the collection? The tacky retro-tastic grape vine leaf fabric Bryn’s mum found in a Joanne’s Fabric store in Indiana.