Vaquera is growing up, but it keeps on being true to its core identity of one of New York’s most daring and intriguing brands. Where the label had once used real trash bags and duct tape as textile stand-ins, it is now using specially developed fabrics. And spring-summer 2022 saw the first Vaquera handbags – shaped like classical instrument cases including shrunken carriers for a violin, snare drum and flute. “It’s changed everything, as we headed into the pandemic we probably wouldn’t have been able to keep this business open without them. We owe everything to them – it’s been an incredible partnership,” Bryn Taubensee said of Dover Street Market Paris’ September 2020 pledge to help the brand’s development. “I think this brand started with a DIY spirit and now we have this structure with Comme and have come so far with sales,” Patric DiCaprio added. The designers, which recently saw their third counterpart Claire Sullivan depart to work on personal projects, said their overall mood was swayed by notions of “luck and superstition and trying to take control of a situation that’s out of control – the rituals you can do to make yourself feel powerful”. Between the lace tights, leggings with a heart cutout perfectly aligned over the buttocks and ballooning gowns tiered in the formation of a New York City sidewalk trash heap, Vaquera delivers its underground quintessence in a less amateur manner.
ERL is on everyone’s lips. Although Justin Bieber and Dua Lipa wear it on the daily, and Chloë-the-queen-of-style-Sevigny shared her love for the new collection on her Insta-stories yesterday, it still feels somewhat niche and off-the-radar. It’s not available in every store yet, so there’s a feeling of appeal-driving deficit. Eli Russell Linnetz’s name causes conversations – and you hear a spectrum of feelings, from delight and reluctance to excitement and skepticism. One thing’s sure: ERL is thriving, and it’s just the start. The California-based brand, now in its fourth full season with Dover Street Market Paris, is not just clothing – it’s everything. A way of being, of putting an ab-skimming tee with tatty, low-slung vaguely Hollister-ish jeans, sure, but also a method for re-assessing your life and your style. Theatricality, time, and obsession are important tenets of ERL-ism, emphasis on obsession – these are some maniacally pored over garments. “Cross-dimensional hitchhiking, making the way to California” and “a romantic blowing in the wind journey across all parts of America” were two ways Linnetz described his spring 2022 mood. He’s taken his surfer boys and plopped them in a pickup truck, scanning through the hayfields and mountainsides of mid-America, with pit stops at prom and football matches along the way. The ERL dude’s got a new passenger too: Linnetz is launching womenswear, and it’s an equally manic trip through the codes of casual American style. Tiered do-si-do skirts in acid trip colors clash with girlish cotton tops and school picture day knitwear, dotted with embroidered flowers. Most of the collection is shared across the genders, giant shearling pieces and wide wale cords offering something humble, while radioactive tuxedos and Fogal tights printed with archival Rudi Gernreich patterns looking aggressively kitsch. Linnetz photographed the pieces himself, in his Venice Beach studio, on street-cast models. Earnest-faced, obvious hunks and wallflowers who skew young, almost disturbingly prepubescent. Can a real guy ever look as good in an orange V-front cable knit polo sweater? Can a real woman capture the kookiness of a half-blazer half, floral top? ERL is tapping into the American Dream of a new generation: to become the character you say you are.
The dancing theme, whether it’s Erdem‘s ballerinas or Dries Van Noten‘s emotional contemporary dance production, is having a moment this season. It’s natural: we’re year in global lockdowns, and we all want to shake it off. For autumn-winter 2021, Vaquera‘s Claire Sullivan, Patric DiCaprio and Bryn Taubensee were inspired by the sensation of “waiting to go back out in the world, to go onstage.” That’s why you see an oversized tee that reads “Runway Star” and Tonya Harding–style leotards. Of course, performance is central to the Vaquera mystique and they’re hoping to be back at it by showtime in September, but the downtime of the last year has helped them to grow in other ways. New York’s perennial cool kids are growing up. The latest line-up marks their second season under the Dover Street Market umbrella and the Vaquera lifestyle is expanding. There’s without a doubt a new level of finesse to the new season’s vegan leather motorcycle jackets; they call them “real” pieces. The collection also takes cues from the way the designers themselves are dressing. There are sweatshirts fused with bras and slip dresses, and the front panel of one skirt is embellished with a pair of satiny panties. A turtleneck collaged with found scraps retains the DIY spirit that has defined their work since the beginning, and a very large brassiere worn as a tank is an example of the proportion play that is another hallmark of their earliest collections. Many designers this season end up with offerings that are somewhere between WFH comfort and optimistic vision of finally going out to the world. Vaquera checks all the boxes.
25 years after the launch of the first Comme des Garçons perfume, 15 years after opening the first Dover Street Market in London, Comme des Garçons opens Dover Street Parfums Market in Paris. It’s a place you never knew you needed so much. Located two minutes from Musée Picasso, this outpost of DSM is dedicated to beauty with a selection of perfumes, cosmetic and make-up brands from around the world. From avant-garde independent young labels (Kerosene, 19-69, Ormaie…) to the most established and classic references, it’s an explosion of scents, sounds and textures. Skincare, body and hair care products are also part of the proposal, with a majority of sustainable and organic brands aimed for all the human spectrum. It’s about authencity, diversity, originality and inclusivity. Special guests include Gucci with its Alchemist’s Garden line; Byredo’s unique corner; events by MAC cosmetics (and their Instagram-big Comme Des Garçons tattoo kit available only here); Julien D’Ys’ hair installations; and Thom Browne who is about to launch his very first perfume range entitled 09.27.65. Dover Street Parfums Market has no commercial visuals, logos or gifts with purchases. As for the interior, Rei Kawakubo designed a forest of pillars with egg shaped shelves carved within them. Mainstream beauty stores and department stores are becoming even more bleak and charmless in my eyes now.
“Fairies? At Prada? Why, yes: When Miuccia is fed up with being perverse in the anarchic-fierce way, she’ll change tack yet again and go against the grain by being so sweetly unchallenging you (almost) can’t recognize her. So Prada for Spring went late sixties, early seventies, Art Nouveau-ish—tripping off into the kind of tendrilly doodles girls used to scrawl on their bedroom walls after studying their hippie-romantic rock album covers.” Nowadays, the fashion world is all buzzy about seasonless clothes that will forever be trendy. But, I think it’s impossible because fashion is art and art always tends to change it sides. After opening the Dover Street Market in New York, Rei Kawabuko (the designer of Comme des Garcons) is in strong relationship with Miuccia Prada. Creating lovely capsule collections made of unused archive Prada fabrics, the designers already created two collections- the one that was sold for AW13, and the second for SS14. The second one is all about SS 2008, when Miuccia took us to a fairy-tale full of fairies and elfs. I remember how hot it was in the stores when everybody stood in queue for a fairy bag! Thanks to that new flashback that DSM did with Prada, women which bought anything from this season may again wear their pieces, without thinking that they are so, so last season. As you see, fashion is very much like art- you never know, when it suddenly comes back… see the new capsule collection just like Lena’s archival pieces from SS08 (the skirt and the shoes are not it. We still seek the fairy themed dress in her wardrobe!).