The room at Performance Space New York where the Eckhaus Latta show took place went pitch black. Pure white spotlights illuminated it at once, the ambient electronic duo Demdike Stare began playing, and the models furiously pumped their way along the runway, which was tightly set up like a labyrinth. The first wore a dark wool overcoat with reversed and exposed seams over a cropped blue and black ribbed sweater and wide leg black trousers, big stomping boots at their feet. If the dark mood seemed completely opposite Eckhaus Latta’s joyous and airy presentation last season at a garden in the East Village, it wasn’t a mistake.
At their studio in Brooklyn a few days before the show, Zoe Latta had explained that “the different approach” for fall was a response to FedEx losing their main collection last season. “So then it was more like, ‘OK, we don’t have any of it—what would we have done differently?’” While the designers took it as an opportunity for new beginnings, the clothes also revealed their raw emotional state. Jersey dresses, tops, and jackets had inside-out seams that were left unfinished to create little horizontal slashes across the body; layered black mesh dresses and shirts made from cotton had a coarser, more natural hand that felt less plastic-y against the body. Tops made from shearling were left unfinished to show their beauty in a natural state. “This season there was a want for a certain kind of hardness,” Mike Eckhaus said. “There’s a kind of moodiness, not in a pessimistic way, but maybe on edge, an uneasy feeling that we are curious to play with,” Latta continued. The clothes felt urgent.
This was a collection about protection, defiance, and most importantly, control, but as the show progressed, the color palette began shifting away from darkness. A moss green overcoat gave way to a brown and green pieced shearling top worn with a pair of wide leg jeans with painted stripes in shades of green, blue, orange and black, and shoes decked out in primary colors. A gorgeous pink oversized bomber jacket was hand knit in Bolivia and paired with a wide wale corduroy skirt of the same shade that zipped off at the front and back (there was also a pair of snap-off corduroy trousers). “We’re thinking of things that come together and come apart, and letting things be mutable as garments,” Eckhaus said.
The journey towards the light continued with a natural linen button down tucked into a matching wrap skirt of asymmetrical length. Some of the best looks in the collection came out towards the end, like the pieces made from a sort of coated gray vinyl which takes on a marbleized effect through regular wear and tear. That was turned into dresses and skirts and, most winningly, a really great pair of jeans. A top and skirt made from caramel-colored “tech organza” had rounded gathered seams and drawstring details that highlighted the shape of the body underneath.
Each season, Eckhaus Latta includes a poem or a text in their show notes. This season’s ended with “Be Fluidly Brutal and Find God.” They’re on their way.
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This story was originally published on Vogue.com.