Eckhaus Latta Fall 2021 Ready-to-Wear

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When Zoe Latta and Mike Eckhaus began work on their latest collection, they were feeling glum. As the duo explained on a Zoom call today—Latta dialing in from her studio in L.A., and Eckhaus on-set in Bushwick, where the brand’s faux-show, or virtual show, or whatever you want to call it, was shortly to take place—that bummed out vibe provided a (dim) creative spark, suggesting that their focus ought to be on comforting shapes and textures, and a somber palette. Eckhaus and Latta went on to report that, thankfully, they are feeling more optimistic now—and that they are eager to get back to fashion business-as-usual, with live events and people around, but in the meantime, like the rest of us, they’re making do. Perhaps accidentally, it’s that sentiment that served as the red thread through this fine outing. The most arresting idea the designers explored, this time out, was the deconstruction of familiar silhouettes in ways that created artful voids in the clothes, or that made them adaptable into different forms. It was a poetic expression of our current state, a year into the pandemic—for aren’t we all now accustomed to a life filled with absences, that we must continually re-contour to suit the latest transmission rates?

This type of deconstruction was nearly omnipresent here—there were too many examples to enumerate, ranging from the slice in the back of a sleeve to the way a knit skirt tied around the waist, like a sweater jettisoned on a hot day, to the holes incorporated into a sequined skirt. But it wasn’t the only idea pursued; Eckhaus and Latta also played with optical patterns, like trippy rib knits and a black-and-white jacquard, and with ways of giving a sense of hand to synthetic fabrics, e.g., by quilting or garment washing nylon. Several of their classic silhouettes were revisited, in purposefully degraded form—notably, the now-classic Eckhaus Latta denim came with distressing along their sculptured seams. The collection was small—no “show” pieces—but thorough; every look was wholly considered, from form to detail. Perhaps the collection’s most admirable quality, though, was its grit—though we often look to fashion for fantasies of the future, and that kind of thing is good and necessary, it requires just as much imagination, if not more, to see the present clearly and manifest its mood. This Eckhaus Latta outing not only captured our present sense of occupying a liminal space, it made it look cool.

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