Willy Chavarria presented the fall offering of his namesake label on Friday evening at the historic Prince George Ballroom in New York City, once again off the traditional NYFW schedule. Apart from the cult following Chavarria has amassed over his career, the brand has also become synonymous with social empowerment, visibility and inclusivity, especially for those of the Latine and LGBTQ communities that Chavarria always celebrates.
This latest showing took cues from his spring collection, which infused couture-like shapes and silhouettes into his traditional street- and workwear-driven aesthetic. But the fall lineup was the most elevated collection Chavarria has presented to date.
The collection touched on the raw versions of all aspects of Latino culture, with a strong emphasis on the political conflicts that come with land appropriation, a conflict that has been part of the Latino struggle spanning across the Americas (North, Central and South). With the ongoing war in Ukraine, these notions hit close to home for Chavarria.
“Always having land as the root of political conflict, not having land, having land taken from you has always been on our minds, it’s part of our history, and with the war happening, it’s on top of everyone’s mind — the idea that people continue taking over other people’s land,” he said.
The fall styles themselves were opulent and bold, with daring silhouettes (a must for Chavarria) in the form of floor-length cashmere top coats with oversize collars, a vivid green wool topcoat with matching flared pants, sculptural denim jackets paired with voluminous denim, traditional leather bomber jackets over a black sequined shirt, workwear jumpsuits transformed into voluminous dresses, and the use of latex interplaying with houndstooth to create a new elegance. This season, Chavarria also took a brief departure from the wide-leg trousers for which he is known, sending out a slightly tapered version yet still keeping true to the street culture looks that always inform his styling.
Another key factor was how immigrants view American style and how they latch onto traditional fashion notions, such as some of the footwear pieces — a reimagined version of the traditional Air Force 1, oversize football jerseys with graphics that permeate an injection of sports culture, and a notable collaboration with Dickies. Chavarria took the original Dickies work shirt and turned it into a statement piece with oversize shoulders, reworked the Eisenhower Jacket to feature monstrous sleeves, and transformed the classic 874 work pant with a higher rise and flared, wider leg.
The fall collection will have a made-to-order component that began with last season’s collection, especially for some of the more luxury cashmere and sequin pieces — yet most of the pieces will be available as part of the ready-to-wear.
At a time when different cultures are continually being stigmatized, Chavarria has become a trailblazer in the Latino community, continuing to celebrate these cultures in collections that both make social statements and are attracting an increasing number of followers.