Photographs by André Herrero / Maiken @ Silent, Laine @ Silent and Nadja @ Trump
Casting is only one element of what makes a fashion show work, but the right cast can speak volumes about a brand’s identity and message for the season. One of the most intriguing lineups of NYFW belonged to rising line, Eckhaus Latta whose first runway show boasted a diverse and dynamic cast. The brand complimented it’s first runway show with an inspired mix of models, musicians and boundary breakers. We caught up with designers Mike Eckhaus & Zoe Latta and casting director, Hari Nef to talk about the show’s vision and the development of this exciting label.
What was the theme / inspiration behind the fall collection?
Eckhaus Latta: We tend to stray away from tangible sources or concrete concepts of inspiration. Collections develop out of conversations we have with one another and the belief that most ideas work better uncoined.
What did you want to convey with the casting?
Eckhaus Latta: Casting has always been important to us. We always use a diverse group of models. This season it was especially important for us to convey a certain kind of fluidity within the cast. We wanted to evoke questions like “is that a man or a woman?” ” are they black? white? hispanic? Asian” “how old are they?” and then to rest in the answer of “oh- none of that matters….”
Hari Nef: With Eckhaus Latta, I feel like it’s more about family than about “fashion” or anything like that. We wanted to work with people we felt connected to, even if we had just begun to discover that connection at a go-see. A fashion show also puts designers, stylists, and casting directors in a position of great responsibility when it comes to beauty ideals; we wanted to represent one that embraced myriad intersections of race, age, and gender, etc. I think our casting walked a line between celebrating and transcending individuality. If designers tamper with notions of beauty and luxury in design, shouldn’t their cast do the same?
How did the amazing Le1f become a part of your cast?
Eckhaus Latta: He’s a friend. We admire his work and the way he holds himself and carries himself as a performer.
Hari Nef: We knew we wanted to cast a good number of our artists in our show, or “nodels” (not-models) as we lovingly refer to them. Le1f came up really early in our nodeling brainstorm session. He’s really beautiful, really talented, and an amazing friend.
I know you guys both went to RISD and began the line without having the traditional formal training – do you think that impacts your work as designers?
Eckhaus Latta: There is a lot of room for growth and exploration stemming from our backgrounds …. we’ve learned so much in the 5 seasons we’ve been doing this and we think the positivity and satisfaction of that kind of growth shows through the collections.
You have a reputation for doing really inventive shows – why do you feel it’s important to do something creative with the show itself as opposed to just the standard NYFW runway show?
In doing a runway this season it allowed us to distill our thoughts into something a little more straight forward.
Noud @ Fusion
Laine @ Silent
Adesuwa @ One and May Hong
Le1f and Juliana Huxtable
Paloma @ Next
Vinca@ Jewels and Jing @ Wilhelmina
Michael Bailey Gates and Laine @ Silent
Cole Mohr @ Re:quest and India Meneuz
Cole Mohr @ Re:quest | photo by Morgan Palmer