Khaite’s Catherine Holstein has long admired the aesthetic history of the American Southwest — namely its vast landscape, texture and colors — as a way of connecting to her American roots and to inform her preseason collections.
She evolved on fall’s city-oriented traveler’s tale for resort, but with more sculptural silhouettes geared toward night. She expanded on core categories that have performed well, such as cotton dresses, and explored new techniques to enhance them into evening appropriate options. Spoiler alert: she’ll be donning a yellow version that’s completely boned, corseted and structured to the upcoming CFDA Awards, where she’s nominated for Emerging Designer of the Year.
Other nontraditional-yet-sophisticated styles included a delicate tulle top that allowed her to play with draping, an ethereal flesh tone tulle gown that played on proportions tight and flowy, and a crinkled viscose button down and pouf skirt set. Yet in the Khaite world, nothing is too precious: the top was paired back to jeans, and the dress and crinkled viscose set were grounded by suede lace-up flats.
The DNA of the brand lies in such balances of feminine and masculine, ease and weight. For example, a supple trench-like motorcycle jacket was styled with skinny jeans, shirting was cut with Victorian sleeves, and a playful denim and suede patchwork skirt was pared under a hefty novelty sweater with reverse intarsia with a dimensional effect.
She incorporated some drama through a play on proportions, too, from a velvet minidress with pouf skirt and velvet top with sculptural shoulder pad-like sleeves, to enveloping, boxy coats with mannish undertones. It was all a refreshing proposition for modern American sportswear.
On working in fashion in New York now, Holstein had this buoyant perspective to share: “It’s an exciting time in New York now for fashion. So much starts here. To have young people coming and saying ‘this is us, we’re here,’ and having a platform and having their voices heard for the first time in a long time, I really admire the voice of it.”