Jackson Wiederhoeft was on a roll this season.
Since bouncing back and forth between bridal, demi-couture and ready-to-wear over his past nine collections, the designer dug his feet into all three aspects for fall, culminating with his performance-meets-runway show on Wednesday
“It’s quite encyclopedic by the end of the collection, but we started with Orpheus and the Eurydice — the very classic Greek story, but reinterpreting it in a way that’s removing Orpheus and the man’s gaze and decisions from the equation. Kind of approaching it from a more post-human, post-gender point of view,” Wiederhoeft said of the collection’s inspiration. The show opened with his own Eurydice, donning a billowing, plasticky white taffeta gown with silver faille corset, followed by a trio of “the fates,” in faille and velvet column dresses with corset lace-up sides and hand-embroidered beaded gloves.
“One thing I’ve learned now is that our bridal collections are what runs my business. I’m really lucky in that my clients love my crazy stuff. So I thought, I need to do a collection full of crazy stuff because that’s what people come to me for,” he said of the avant bridal looks. For instance, a button-down turned corset with low-rise belted pencil skirt, or impressive sheer slips with allover tattoo-like beaded embroideries of thematic hand-drawn motifs. The looks could easily be styled over the designer’s (covered-up) classic slips, which nicely played into the collection’s wider aspect: ready-to-wear styles that not only offered his highly crafted, fantasy touch, but could be easily wearable to a wider audience.
For instance, debut denim. It came in the form of a pant with unboned corset details and wide legs, as a hooded shirtdress, pink jean jacket and, of course, corsets. There was also a great pair of red-hot trousers and a casual zip-up jacket boasting the bedazzled phrase “don’t look” across the chest (paired with a pailette covered pencil skirt and ultra-cropped button down) alongside playful new demi-couture styles, like a hand-embroidered beaded, sequined and tulle trompe l’oeil lingerie column dress, or a knockout shapely gilded column dress fully embroidered with glass cut beads, to name a few.
“I think after [the CFDA/Vogue] Fashion Fund, a lot of the emphasis I got was really focusing on what I do best. I feel like in the past some of the ready-to-wear I was doing was trying to fill a niche in the market that didn’t need to be filled,” Weiderhoeft explained of the strong shift. “I think it’s really about harnessing what’s special to me — a lot of people identify my line with corsets nowadays, and I love corsets — three quarters of the collection is corset-inspired. So it’s been a return to those sorts of styles but from a point of view that feels more authentic, and a little bit more on brand. If I’m gonna make something, I need to make sure it’s on a rack and identifiably Wiederhoeft, not a filler piece. There’s enough garments in the world — I don’t want to make stuff for the sake of making it, because someone else will. The garments that do well for me are the ones that are authentic.”