Vaquera’s help from Dover Street Market Paris with business infrastructure is helping the brand’s designers Patric DiCaprio and Bryn Taubensee level up.
Where the label had once used real trash bags and duck tape as textile stand-ins, it is now using specially developed fabrics. And out has come the first Vaquera handbags — shaped like classical instrument cases including shrunken carriers for a violin, snare drum and flute.
“It’s changed everything, as we headed into the pandemic we probably wouldn’t have been able to keep this business open without them. We owe everything to them — it’s been an incredible partnership,” Taubensee said of Dover Street Market Paris’ September 2020 pledge to help the brand’s development, which entails Dover Street Market Paris producing and distributing a large share of Vaquera’s collections via Commes des Garçons’ own manufacturing connections.
“I think this brand started with a DIY spirit and now we have this structure with Comme and have come so far with sales,” DiCaprio added.
True to form, Vaquera sent out a lightening-pace procession of models in ramshackle looks. They stomped their way down a TriBeCa alley in designs that remark on the brand’s DIY culture and post-consumerist roots, but with a new commercial intent.
Unlike prior Vaquera outings, the message behind this collection was less resolute. The designers, which recently saw their third counterpart Claire Sullivan depart to work on personal projects (she attended the show, for the first time, as an audience member), said their overall mood was swayed by notions of “luck and superstition and trying to take control of a situation that’s out of control — the rituals you can do to make yourself feel powerful,” DiCaprio noted.
“I think people expect us to have concise answer, but that’s what makes our collections exciting. We don’t have a rulebook and when we have a theme, we end up with a boring collection. It’s clothes we like to wear, I think people often give bad advice of, ‘Don’t design for yourself,’ and I believe the opposite. There is power in knowing what you like,” he continued.
Between the lace tights, leggings with a heart cutout perfectly aligned over the buttocks and ballooning gowns tiered in the formation of a New York City sidewalk trash heap were pieces that will keep the machine running for the next season. Sweatshirts, shorts, knits and sequin party dresses still capture the essence of the duo’s renegade spirit, while appealing to stores and shoppers seeking only whiff of counterculture New York.