Vaquera's Twisted American Fantasy at NYFW SS18

David Moses, Bryn Taubensee, Claire Sully and Patric DiCaprio, the four designers who make up the Vaquera label presented their Spring 2018 collection yesterday. Inspired by the identity crisis, they have experienced this themselves, from the rising ranks of a relatively unknown Brooklyn underground label, to finalists of the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund. On a much larger note, America is also going through an identity crisis. A Sharpie-drawn portrait of Abraham Lincoln printed on an oversized t-shirt suggested this.

They closed their irreverent fashion show this season with a remix of "The O.C." soundtrack, a popular, but finished television series from the early 2000's - loved by millennials. It was based on the lives of teenagers living in California's Orange County. Vaquera's design philosophy is definitely one that celebrates individuality and diversity. Choosing this song was perhaps an ironic criticism of the stereotypes shaped by the American mass media. Thinking back to one of my recent posts in which I said that New York lacks the energy and youthful, new-talented spirit of some of the designers showing in London, for example like Charles Jeffrey's Loverboy, Art School and Matty Bovan, well Vaquera is definitely a brand that brings a rebellious feel and energises New York Fashion Week.

This foursome is part of the new wave of New York labels rethinking the show concept and pushing the boundaries of casting, asking friends for favours and discovering people off the street. I must admit, it's way more interesting and authentic than casting a show through modelling agencies and makes that idea seem old-fashioned and out of touch with what's relevant today. Authenticity is important to me when it comes down to a brand's vision. Walter Pearce, their casting director walked along with his mum, and overall there was an enlightening "let your freak flag fly" attitude to the runway crew. The garments naturally share that exact same sensibility.

The clothes were fabulous, some were taken to extreme levels of unconditional creativity, one slip dress was made entirely from branded Vaquera credit cards (the logo was a Vaquera-cum-Hollywood sign), a stab at overtly, excessive spending on fashion? Traditional proportions were blown out of the water. Button-down oxford shirts became mattress sheets, complete with striped ties - it seemed like a punch to the face of fuck corporate America, quite fitting considering the show venue was at the Church Street Boxing gym. One Hawaiian-print floral dress became one giant bow, worn under a classic-style oversized trench coat. Opposite to this, garments were also cropped, shrunken and torn, logo'd Vaquera surfer gear and boxing club vests. The final look was a white terrycloth bathrobe of bridal proportions. There were however more wearable pieces than in past efforts, here is seemed as if David, Bryn, Claire and Patric were transforming Vaquera into a more viable business - at the end of the day, they have to make money somehow to continue doing what they're doing. As Sully put it afterwards, "they're fresh for whatever's next." Do you take Vaquera Express?

Images courtesy of Dazed Digital and Vogue Runway

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