Catherine Holstein’s first Khaite store will open later this week at 165 after a year in the making Mercer Street opened and plans to open more stores in the next 5 years. Next month, her first child is due. It’s a period of beginnings for the Khaite designer, who is talking about a new chapter after her intimate show at the boutique last night. “We always talk about power and invisibility, but this is about power. It’s what we keep saying: ‘sharp power,'” she said. “I don’t want to call it sophistication because it sounds cheesy, but it’s a departure.”
Slim tailoring is one of New York’s emerging themes—serious, even on the alert Period wear plain clothes. Gone were the frills and embellishments of last season’s Khaite show. There were no silk fringes or rhinestone trims, no snakeskin prints, and definitely no polka dots. “Diana Vreeland famously said, ‘There’s one thing you should take off before you go out,’ and I’ve been trying to think about that,” says Holstein. “Maybe it’s gone in some other series, but for this series, we’re talking about taking something and adapting it, which is also empowering.”
It doesn’t It’s as simple as it sounds. The show started with a huge brushed natural shearling coat with black leather trim that nearly scraped the store’s poured concrete floor, and there was more shearling, even trousers, that required a very strong woman to wear well. But overall, the collection is a study in silhouette and material rather than surface appeal. Holstein’s philosophy is that “people will come back to your brand for your fabrics”. Fitted double-breasted coats are crafted in black leather, while miniskirts and midi skirts have A-line ruffles from the hip. Bonded crepe satin with a chiffon base for dresses with a high neck and long sleeves, such as religious wear. Long hooded cape in rubberized twill. Stretch-jersey sheath dresses had a sexy “own rather than claim,” to borrow an effective line from the press release.
Last season temptation was the name of the game, this time it’s by accident. It’s definitely attractive. But Holstein does make room for a little fun. It comes in the form of shearling-covered heels and mules, a polished gold leather tote and cashmere appliqué adorned with a dueling red Corvette, paired with a caramel shearling blazer in proportion ’80s-ish, black leather pants and strappy kitten-heel sandals, this was the show’s killer look. The cruiser is a useful symbol. This is a season in which other promising up-and-coming American labels are downsizing or exiting fashion weeks. Kate is fast forward.