Eckhaus Latta Changes Direction with SS 2020
By Taraneh Azar Runway Correspondent
Situated in what has now become their quintessential stage – Brooklyn warehouse-turned-runway – duo Mike Eckhaus and Zoe Latta walked their 16th collection earlier this month as part of a slew of highly-anticipated New York Fashion Week presentations.
Since their FW19 collection in which they partnered with UGG, Eckhaus Latta has begun to radically shift direction, a change most evident in their latest show.
The house is known for their loose, often deconstructed knits, their signature lapped baby tees, color block and tie-dye prints and high quality denim, but Spring/Summer 2020 opened with an eyelet and lace dress that bore no resemblance to the house’s earlier garments. As chevron printed smocks and striped knits followed one after the other, I couldn’t help but think I was watching the latest BCBG Max Azaria collection. Yeah, it was that bad.
Some looks were more in line with what you expect from the duo, such as the loosely-constructed knit smocklike dress walked by Coco Gordon Moore. The stiff suits and blazers were impressive as well, featuring silky earth tones and wide-legged pants with floppy cuts.
This look was particularly redeeming, with a warped black-and-white chunky sweater layered over what appear to be spray-painted jeans, lending an interesting and dimensional detail to the traditional blue denim.
Overall boring prints and cuts aside, the most striking difference between this presentation and those in years past is the models they chose to cast.
Eckhaus Latta was so cool because their garments were accessible and bought into a movement of subversive minimalism in which many had a personal stake, but also because the duo was known for walking pregnant women, plus-size models and grandmothers.
This year, grandma was replaced by A-list models, and even though Paloma Elsesser, 5’7” plus size model and activist for POC visibility in the fashion world, was present on stage (along with many of the duo’s other favorite models such as Jane Moseley and May Hong), Elsesser was not walked until she was plopped into massive platforms, completely subverting many ideals that her stage presence reflects and represents in her own work.
In contrast with their past shows which were open to the public and fully accessible, recent presentations are increasingly more exclusive and less inclusive as the cast appears to be whiter, thinner and taller with each new season. The duo seems to be moving in the ‘a-listers only’ direction that many esteemed small brands fall into sooner or later.
Their next presentation will be indicative of whether their founding ideals will be maintained, or if a full transition is in order.