Tomorrow the LVMH Foundation announces the winner of their annual Young Designer Prize from the 9 finalist across the globe. Included is New York and Los Angeles based label Eckhaus Latta whose brand was founded in 2011 by Rhode Island School of Design-graduates Mike Eckhaus and Zoe Latta. Collections later, the downtown-cool label has established itself as a New York Fashion Week fixture complete with devoted followers beyond the gamut of an emerging designer per se. Going to a show one can expect Mike and Zoe to swap convention with more thoughtful, experimental articulations when it comes to fabrics used, gender binaries and casting. Now the Whitney Museum of American Art is to recognize their work by way of incorporating Eckhaus Latta in the museum’s emerging artist series. “Eckahus Latta: Possessed” is to occupy the John R. Eckek, Jr. Foundation gallery on the first floor from August 3rd to October 8th. It will be the pairs first solo exhibition to date (Their brand has been included in Greater New York 2015 at MoMA PS1 and Made in L.A. 2016 at the Hammer Museum in LA), and the first solo fashion exhibition the museum has put on in 21 years, a markedly big deal for a fashion brand seven-years of age.
“As part of the Whitney’s emerging artist program, we sometimes showcase creative figures outside of the visual arts,” said Christopher Y. Lew, Nancy and Fred Poses Associate Curator, co-organizer with Lauri London Freedman head of product development said in a press release, continuing, “These figures from fields such as fashion, music, architecture, design, and food approach their discipline in ways that are akin to visual artists, often questioning the systems and parameters that define what they do, speaking to the broader cultural moment, and blurring the boundaries between disciplines.” The exhibition’s three parts explore facets of the fashion industry, advertising, the consumer experience and voyeurism. The main section of the exhibition is an operational retail environment where visitors can actually purchase pieces, which is bound to raise artworld eyebrows when consumerism and sacred art spaces so closely fraternize, but Freedman says, “They pushed us to ask broader questions such as “How can we reexamine the format of an exhibition?’ and ‘What is the best to exhibit an artist’s work?” At the entrance photographs that play on tropes of iconic photoshoots in fashion and advertisements will be displayed and the last room plays as a mock security office giving the visitor a look intro tracking and surveillance as part of the shopping experience. Everything in the space from clothing racks to display shelves is made in collaboration with numerous artists that the designers have been in dialogue with.
If Eckhaus Latta wins the LVMH Prize it would mean a 300,000 euro grant and assistance in the development of their company over a period of twelve months from the Foundation.