Pin It
vaquera aw18 show new york nyfw fashion week
Backstage at Vaquera AW18Photography J’Dee Allin

Saints, sinners, and sexy nuns feature at Vaquera’s Vegas-themed show

The AW18 collection included references to Showgirls and the New York collective’s fave fashion icons

“Dear God,” read the show notes at Vaquera AW18. “It’s me, Vaquera. Help me play the tables before my money runs out! What is my fate?”

This season, Vaquera designers Patric DiCaprio, Bryn Taubensee, David Moses and Claire Sully took on Vegas, with an eye on games of chance. Gambling necessitates prayer and is ruled by fate, and so amongst takes on blackjack dealers and the legend Nomi Malone, there were angels and devils and a number of nuns (including the riotously slutty). The wonderful show, styled by Dazed’s own senior fashion editor Emma Wyman, just so happened to fall on Fat Tuesday, which is really just too good. Here’s what went down.


Late last year, all-seeing fashion Instagram account Diet Prada called out Vaquera for appropriating designs; the collective responded that their referential work was “fashion fan fiction.” This season, the statement was made literal in a series of polo shirts (produced with a freshly resurrected American Apparel) featuring stippled cartoons of designers’ faces: Vivienne Westwood, Miguel Adrover, Andre Walker, and Martin Margiela.

“We were talking about icons, and iconography within Christianity,” Moses told us backstage. “What is an icon? What is an idol? So we had all those polo shirts with our fashion icons on them.”


Looks at Vaquera embodied the essential aspects of a Vegas casino: New York-New York prints, a gold corset, billiard patterns, the vest of a blackjack dealer, a shirt with a crystal 7-7-7, for jackpot (the designers themselves sported sweatshirts advertising “Vaquera’s Casino Resort” that read “BIG MONEY”). But DiCaprio said they wanted to go further. “We were talking about fate and faith and doubt and faith,” Sully explained. “And we were interested in the idea of temptation, but also how temptation can be good for you, and giving into those negative feelings is embracing yourself.”

And so they went religious, showing angel wings, three variations on nuns, and, in an audience favorite, the devil, here depicted in flowing red leather. The pairing was aces – Vegas is, after all, a place to sin. But as Sully pointed out, a pull from the devil isn’t so bad. Even gamblers have a patron saint.


Music choices at Vaquera are always witty; this season, the mix by frequent collaborator DJ Bebe opened with a nod to Adam and Eve: Madonna’s “Secret Garden.” Later on, to the audience’s delight, there was a jacked up version of the Sex and the City theme (last season they played songs from The OC). Before the show started, guests were treated to a remixed audio of a Facebook video where a girl passionately asserts her love of the lord. “Positive Jesus vibes,” said Moses.

Cast by Walter Pearce for Midland Agency (he also walked), in what has become his signature, the models all aggressively stormed across the room. Renowned artist and skateboarder Mark Gonzales modeled, drawing applause. 


Vaquera features a bride every season. This time, she was a virgin, swallowed in layers of cake-like tulle and carrying a giant rosary covered in candy-colored gems. Taubensee said that they wanted to “combine the showgirl with something innocent.”

Showgirls, the movie, shows a Vegas performer who is innocent, or ignorant, about everything but sex. The scene where Nomi Malone proudly shows off her new Versace, calling it “Ver-sayce,” is maybe the most Vaquera thing ever. I thought about it for the whole show.