“Everybody’s here, the whole art world,” said Klaus Biesenbach, chief curator at large of the Museum of Modern Art and director of MoMA P.S. 1. It wasn’t an opening or an exhibition that had them in Long Island City on Monday night, though, but part of New York Fashion Week: Eckhaus Latta's fall show.
A fashion show in Queens is a big ask on any night, but with their namesake label, Mike Eckhaus and Zoe Latta have never really played by the rules. Last season, they showed their clothes on an assorted cast of their friends, including middle-aged women, bigger names – like Bjarne Melgaard, Juliana Huxtable and Dev Hynes – and a welcome number of transgender models.
Though many of them returned this season, things have definitely changed for the underground label since: P.S. 1 wasn't just a venue to show their latest collection, but the institution that selected them earlier this year to be part of their acclaimed "Greater New York" exhibit, which brought them greater recognition in the art world. Critics started paying attention too, and they earned an entirely new audience in January when they topped Forbes’s 30 Under 30 list.
“At the end of the day, Mike and I are the kind of people that [the exposure] just makes us put our heads closer to the working stone and try to think of ways these opportunities can be more fruitful,” Latta said after the show, held in the dome in the museum’s courtyard. “This is our ninth collection, and we were just looking to challenge ourselves, even in small ways."
Not in terms of the scale of the show, she added. “But the scale of the looks and the development of the materials," Latta said. "We used these old World War II military blankets that in the past we kind of would have been scared to offer, because they were covered in holes and we have to hand embroider them. Now we have facility to do that and we're really excited to offer things like that, that might be more expensive or more time-intensive.”
That wasn’t the only thing more complex this time around: Models walked in choreographed spirals, suddenly reversing direction and weaving between rows of guests. Miu Miu face India Salvor Menuez, one of the only more established models, walked hand in hand with a bouncy child in a red hat – the daughter of the professor who first taught Latta and Eckhaus how to knit at Rhode Island School of Design. Models of all genders wore lip gloss, their hair undone in what Latta called “this ‘Woman Under the Influence’ vibe – someone with a lot of vindictiveness who can leave their house looking nuts and owning it.”
The crowd – a younger set with dyed hair, beanies, and bucket hats – fit that description a bit themselves, and definitely seemed to find it worth the trek. “It’s one of the coldest days today and yesterday, we had an ice storm, and still it was full house," Biesenbach said.