Eckhaus Latta Made Us Cry
Most brands wouldn’t inspire a trek through puddles of icy sludge and half frozen rain, but then, most brands aren’t Eckhaus Latta. The cult fashion brand, led by Zoe Latta and Mike Eckhaus, has become renowned for its commitment to transcending the runway, creating unique performances every season. Last night was no exception. A runway path twisted into a spiral of chairs inside of the MOMA PS1’s surreal white dome to create a Twilight Zone, where fashion became art for the audience of at least one hundred who crowded inside. Like seasons past, the brand incorporated friendly faces with notable newcomers to create a runway cast that spanned the spectrum of age, nationality, and gender, creating a transcendent experience that brought us to tears.
In an interview earlier this month with AnOther Magazine, Mike and Zoe said that they were focusing on weight in clothing. Coats were heavy and furry; our favorite was a bright pink number that looked like a walking, sleeveless sheepskin rug. Several of the garments were rendered in velvet that looked good enough to eat. As the models whipped by, running through the Spiral Jetty-style runway, you could feel how heavy the clothes were.
Eckhaus Latta is fabulous because it embraces the deconstructed, loose, modern aesthetic so prominent amongst young New York labels. Yet the pieces are gorgeously finished, seemingly elevated from previous seasons. They’re put together with the skill and intensity that comes from a curriculum like that at Rhode Island School of Design, which Mike and Zoe both attended. It’s a place where the only way to achieve is to push harder than anyone else—RISD students do not sleep, ever. While the clothes at Eckhaus seem relaxed and easy to wear, you can see the real work.
The designers/sculptors/whatever you want to call them say they like to play with artifice, like in their video “Smile,” a parody of a photo shoot. So it seemed like Eckhaus was almost trolling people with the seating set up, making them actually have to watch the show with their eyes instead of on their phones. Because of the spiral and the speed of the models’ movements, everyone had to twist their necks and spin around to see anything. It was hard to get photos for social media, and because of how close the models were to the seats (when Jocelyn leaned over to adjust a button on her pants, a braid hit her in the face), it seemed almost wrong to take their pictures. Which was funny, because they’re certainly photographed a lot; the group included creatives like Alexandra Marzella, Michael Bailey-Gates, Thistle Brown, Juliana Huxtable, Barbara Ferreira and India Salvor-Menuez, who skipped around with a really adorable little girl, a highlight of the show (on top of the cast, even the cocktails were super sceney—they were from Dimes, and they had fucking chia seeds in them).
Going to the show was like attending an extremely well-dressed family reunion for the East Broadway elite. But Eckhaus Latta really cares about art. Above all, the brand seems to believe in their clothing, believe in their friends, and they wanted to people to really engage with the work. We were stunned by the quality of the clothes, and swept up in the experience. As the music ended and the models froze in place, Chris couldn’t help but shed a tear, and Jocelyn managed not to trip any models. It was a beautiful success.
All photos shot exclusively for Milk by Andrew Boyle. Gif art by Kathryn Chadason.