ECKHAUS LATTA – founded by Rhode Island School of Design grads Mike Eckhaus and Zoe Latta – broke into the fashion arena in 2011 with a collection that successfully captured something few fashion labels have been able to accomplish in recent years: anti-establishment, art-driven garment design. This isn’t anti-fashion per se, not the kind that surfaced in the late 80s and early 90s with labels such as Comme des Garçons and Maison Martin Margiela, but it touches on something in fashion that really hasn’t been investigated since that time, certainly not with as much sincerity as designers Mike and Zoe manage. Most young fashion labels – even less mainstream ones – adhere to prevailing trends and silhouettes in varying degrees, and while this is hardly reprehensible (in most cases), it creates an environment where fewer and fewer designers are actually pushing the limits. In our post-modern/recycled/”novelty”-obsessed creative culture, one that too frequently relies on past aesthetics as reference, Eckhaus Latta takes a gamble in the opposite direction. Their stuff really does feel “new” and different, but novelty isn’t the point for them – thank goodness. The designers are true craftsmen as well as strong thinkers and they manage to keep their attention focused on those fundamental elements of garment design that have at various points brought fashion into the realm of art: material, texture, line, shape, color. Concept is of course also part of this recipe, but their process isn’t one of simply representing an inspiration. “We never try to execute a reference,” Mike explains. “There’s always a bunch of divergent ideas that are highly reference-able, but more towards our own mental construct of things.” In this regard their designs are really more about the garments themselves and the impressions the designers feel while constructing a collection. Check out their most recent collection(SS14), streamed live from a parking lot in Berlin at the Anthology Film Archives during New York Fashion Week.
Interview by Sonia & Natasha Stagg Photo essay by Benedict Brink
Bjarne Melgaard x Eckhaus Latta at Gavin Brown’s Enterprise
by Clarke Rudick
On view at GAVIN BROWN’S ENTERPRISE through October 26th, Melgaard’s show Ignorant Transparencies is an epic catalogue spanning three large rooms crowded with various installations, sculptures, and paintings. Melgaard’s style all but demands some sort of confrontation, whether it is between his creations and the viewer, or, more often, the viewer and themselves. None of his works better illustrates these dialogues than his six painting-sculptures featuring one-off garments by ECKHAUS LATTA.