vor 4 years

Let’s get real.

We have reached the six month point of living in the midst of a global crisis.

The skies over America are a Blade Runner haze of orange. There, elections are around the corner. Whatever comes of that, a near-majority will be in mourning. In Europe, have your pick of existential issue: plagues, injustice, hate crimes. Now that the heatwaves have past us, winter is next in line to taunt us- what exactly does that mean for the livelihood we in Berlin have managed to take advantage of and for granted, with our al fresco dining, park gatherings, day trips into nature?

To be honest, things feel very uneasy. I am exhausted. Recently, my jaw has been clenching in my sleep. I am experiencing a new strain of nausea. I am equally scared and fascinated.

The fashion lines that were actually able to produce garments in the past few months have all been presented fairly cheerfully. Private shows set in idyllic fields and forests with raw materials and cheeky prints. How nice. Mainstream magazine covers attempt to stir our hearts with capitalised messages of HOPE; editorial spreads sweeten our gaze with motivational photos. It all feels too glossy, too empty, too fake. I suppose we listen to what we need to hear. 

But for me, I find that this time we are living in has never been more aligned with my personal approach to life, which is aesthetically darker, politically nihilistic, and emotionally heavier when that’s what it calls for. I don’t find solace in wearing a pink linen dress. I don’t feel better reminiscing on my childhood or dressing like my grandmother. I am unapologetic about my own manspread. I cling to my minimal threshold for camp. I am inspired by no-nonsense. I strive to be more no-nonsense. So while others during this year’s Fall/Winter Fashion Week may have had their optimism inflated, my personal dedication to the laws of grim reality went unsatisfied and I felt like we were missing an incredible opportunity to collectively relish and roll around in the great darkness together.

And then, quietly, came Khaite’s lookbook for her 2021 Spring/Summer collection. Designer Catherine Holstein aligned with the director Hanna Tveite to birth a New York City-Gritty reveal of her garments, shot by Nick Knight:

These girls look mad. They look a little mean. This is exactly how I am feeling. I feel represented. I feel worn down, but I am not jaded. I still believe in comfort and in beauty and in romance. Those are the things that keep me going. And those are precisely the elements on display in this collection. Khaite presents us with a multitude of uniforms for walking with a strong gait; for being purposely present, wherever it is we are going. From leather jackets to evening gowns, she is dressing a pissed off, disappointed generation. But we are not all leather and latex. We are also silk. Sometimes there’s a frill. Our attitudes toughen up a sweetheart neckline. Pleats in motion hit a different chord than a pleat in repose. I look forward to crying, fighting, marching, loving, and living in Khaite. Life sucks. But it’s worth doing beautifully at least once.

Text by Janna Shaw
Photos Courtesy of Vogue Runway 

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