The women of New York, especially when dressed in Catherine Holstein’s visual universe, are main characters in their own right. They’re inadvertently spawning countless think pieces by innocuously hailing a cab in Khaite’s coveted cashmere bralette and cardigan à la Katie Holmes.
Through Khiate, Holstein holds a mirror to the legions of Manhattanite adherents, reflecting their desires, fantasies, hidden truths and unspoken vows back onto them. Though, as Khaite has harnessed over the last few seasons and their Mercer Street store, this sartorial world isn’t one of ease and brevity, but a dark paradise.
New York is inherently a macrocosm of complexity underpinned by hustle, struggle, grind and a ‘dog eat dog’ mentality. Naturally, the clothing of its inhabitants is a uniform fit for encountering these elements. Focusing on the ferocity of this cultural Mecca, Khaite presented an edgy redux for their Spring/Summer 2024 collection.
Despite being synonymous with the polished downtown scene, Khaite brought the fashion sect uptown to the Park Avenue Armory. In the setting of a former National Guard Armory, the luxuriate’s hypothesis for contemporary attire became explicitly clear. Clothing is a form of protection, but in New York this shielding must be one fortified by elegance.
Here, Khaite proposed what the next iteration of this stylish armor should be; gritty motorcycle leather, delicate maxi dressing and sharp tailoring inspired by heritage. The collection drew inspiration from the New Romantic aesthetic of the late 80s, with exaggerated Victorian silhouettes made anew.
Khaite walked a tightrope between the past and the present through juxtaposing codes. On one side lay tough biker jackets reimagined through traditional Saville Row techniques and boxy blazers fit with razor-sharp lapels.
On the other, sculptural maxi dresses with miles of fabric that ballooned over to encase the body, softly pleated body-con silhouettes and billowing peasant blouses that washed you in a cocoon of ivory or Stanley Kubrick red. The latter is the perfect addition to the fiery hue of Khaite’s aforementioned flagship boutique.
Presenting these two modes in tandem, Khaite made a case for ripe duality; the old and new, hard and soft, sensible and surreal, extravagant and everyday. It’s only in New York where Khaite’s signature fringing can be layered underneath a military-style leather jacket and be deemed acceptable everywhere from the boardroom to your local bodega.
It’s a place where the Capellini strap maxi dress can serve as the perfect sensual silhouette, but when paired with an asymmetrical single-breasted trench coat or next to a softly pin-tucked khaki day dress it evokes something unhackneyed.
Khaite also cements that the devil is in the detail, such as the soldiery epaulette that adorns this season’s outerwear, the tuxedo buttons accenting the ardent shirt dresses or surreal hand hardware on the belts.
Yes, there may be an appetite for destruction cultivated through New York life, but it’s also one that is intrinsically soft and romantic, too. Khaite’s ‘New Romantic’ redux isn’t just the homage to a counterculture movement, but also the exterior New York women have to don when battling the trenches of the dating scene.
With the men of Manhattan resorting to stealing our Tabis after a second date, what better way to protect yourself than this?
This article originally appeared on Grazia International