Catherine Holstein launched Khaite in 2016 as a vehicle to elevate American sportswear. The brand offers wardrobe essentials rooted in the balance of contrasts — namely masculine and feminine, tailored and fluid — to create a thread of gentle strength. In just two years, it’s become known for great denim, knitwear and tailoring.
Holstein’s background is in illustration, but as the designer has taken on the role of businesswoman, it’s been harder to find time to incorporate that artistic element into the collections. So for resort, she implemented artistry through techniques that challenged her process, which, in turn, allowed silhouettes to evolve.
The star of the lineup was a pink pleated gown more involved than its appearance might suggest; it featured eight panels of asymmetric pleating all draped on the model. “It was a labor of love,” Holstein said in her showroom. “I opened up my mind a little more. It’s a next step for Khaite.” The pleated dress also came in a velvet-flocked polka-dot pattern and a fiery red version with flyaway threads that challenged shirting fabric to be evening-appropriate. She offered sculptural elements elsewhere in knitwear and through the roundness of sleeves. “Those small details make all the difference,” she added.
Holstein’s balance of the hard and soft help the clothes stay away from being too precious. Blazers are minimal yet sharp, jeans are familiar but not boring, like a new bootcut style with the slightest flare. It’s also likely why suiting has had 100 percent sell-through. Styling could lean just as easily on the side of flirty as it could more serious — always with an undercurrent of modest and tasteful design.