Don’t refer to Vaquera as an underground brand any longer. The design collective comprising Patric DiCaprio, David Moses, Bryn Taubensee and Claire Sully have been called out for their distinctly off-kilter takes on homespun threads in the past, but they made it a point on their energetic fall runway to offer up more polish and pieces that translate from the runway to the rack. “Throughout the CFDA, that was the number-one feedback,” Moses noted post-show.

They started with the concept of faith and doubt. “It’s kind of this feeling of ups and downs,” said Taubensee. “All the different characters represent feeling really great about yourself and feeling down about yourself.” The loaded concepts lead to the institutions of casinos and religion and the iconography of gambling and liturgical garments. There were stark representations of both: a scurrying nun in a bedazzled all-white habit and coif; supersized rosary beads carried by a virgin bride; an actual roulette table printed on a dress. The devil made an appearance in a hefty gathered top, and some models strutted in a clunky, possessed manner. Moses added: “You’re sitting at the slots and praying to God that you win.” (Ah, a connection!)

Though the collection started with feelings of uncertainty, it was clear the designers are refining their craft. Deeply wearable pieces included loosely cut denim, subversive shirting and polo dresses with printed faces of the designers’ own icons, who included Vivienne Westwood, Miguel Adrover, Andre Walker and Martin Margiela. Yet the DIY nature of their clothing resonates most. Suiting with a blazer ripped short, a patchwork shirt with multiple attached ties and a coat with the illusion of a blazer in front were great balances of experimental restraint. “We want to show that we can still do stuff that has a lot of energy but it’s also really viable,” Taubensee concluded.

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