Katharine Polk wanted to turn her fall bridal show into a more personal project following an article she wrote for Harper’s Bazaar about her nine-year struggle with anorexia. “[The article] got a lot of attention from friends…. I knew I wanted to do something different this season,” Polk said. “So I reached out to nine of my best friends and asked if they would do some soul-searching and join me.”
The result was “The Houghton Girl,” a short documentary-style film about female empowerment that was directed by Garen Barsegian. Through a series of candid interviews, Polk’s best girl friends — a mix of designers, personal trainers, musicians, models and creatives, all of whom sat front row during the screening — opened up about their own issues regarding body image, societal pressures, depression and self-identity in the digital age. It was a poignant, touching and funny glimpse into the lives of real, modern women, the kind who might wear Houghton’s edgy bridal looks.
Throughout the film, Polk’s friends modeled Houghton’s fall bridal range while doing cartwheels and eating burgers and fries, all of it meant to underscore the collection’s effortless, lived-in vibe. True to form, the looks turned bridal tradition on its head: Think bright-blue Mongolian fur jackets, pink sequined corsets and embroidered baseball jackets with the words “Not Your Baby” on the back. “We’ve always been ready-to-wear to get married in, and people have always been confused by that,” Polk said. In fact, the collection’s white lace gowns and leather motorcycle jackets emblazoned with the words “F–k Boy” were designed to be worn both in and outside of a bridal context. “It’s about wearing it every day,” she says. “Houghton is about real women — the women behind all of these images.”