Small and independent brands in New York are unconventional, eclectic and intriguingly chaotic. And they catch your attention right away. Meet Puppets and Puppets, an indie label launched earlier this year by contemporary artist Carly Mark and garment construction student, Ayla Argentina. Their spring-summer 2020 collection is, as the designers sum up, an intersection point of tsar’s vestments and archetypal American capitalist uniform, a place where fantasy still exists. Basically speaking, the collection is a surprising remix of inspirations like Fabergé eggs, the Grand Duchess Anastasia of Russia and… American Psycho. There were some cheeky intepretations of the imperial egg – shoes fashioned from egg cartons and little bralette nipple coverings made to look like fried eggs (very Sarah Lucas) – but there were also some very literal nods, like the garments constructed with bulbous, protruding crinolines at the hips. Meanwhile the hand-knitted floral tunic-dress or the green velvet top styled with a red, full-skirt embroidered with forest animals motifs sparked affiliations of tsarist opulence and love for intricate craftsmanship (my first throught once seeing those looks: Ulyana Sergeenko’s brand, but not this strictly elegant and done in a funky, New York way). Speaking of American Psycho, this part felt a bit forced and unneeded, but somehow worked with the rest of the collection. White shirts with red ties and Wall Street tailoring were here, but went through complete exaggeration of volumes and lenghts. Puppets and Puppets spring-summer 2020 is fun and theatrical, but when you put the clothes apart, they seem to be approachable and wearable. I wonder what direction the brand takes next.
Collage by Edward Kanarecki.