Unconventional, underground brands are making headlines this season as the industry has slowly begun to acknowledge, and applaud, designers who have a distinctly handmade, off-kilter, anticorporate aesthetic. Esther Gauntlett and Jenny Cheng of Gauntlett Cheng — recently shortlisted on WWD’s “New York New” designers to watch — create an eccentric brand of homespun, torn-up fashion that’s a sort of balance to the day jobs they lead. The duo’s second collection told an evolutionary tale of a party girl who goes to work, aboard a docked vessel in the East River and featured a cast of female and male nonmodels.
The cut-up knit separates that opened the show had a deconstructed, slightly trashy, did-it-myself spirit — with some appearing to have been torn by the models themselves, akin to makeshift club attire done on the way from work to a night out. What was office-appropriate for the day after? They proposed classic tailoring under stringy bras, bunched-up shirting and tie elements, seen on pants and a mustard set that was actually quite chic. More body-conscious than last season, the lineup also featured several pretty, fitted sheer knits. A little askew, Gauntlett Cheng continued to challenge perceptions of what’s flattering and appropriate.