Many of the clothes presented at New York Fashion Week this season have been centred around the idea of re-emergence. A.K.A: what to wear once parties, holidaying, and long, champagne-filled dinners are back on the menu. But for Catherine Holstein, creative director of the culty minimalist label Khaite, it was more important to create clothes that meet women where they’re at right now. From the opening look of her spring summer ‘22 collection—a luxe oversized satin down jacket worn by Gigi Hadid—it was clear Holstein was designing clothes for women that still feel a little fragile, and who are re-entering the world with a touch of trepidation.
But that should come as no surprise to Khaite’s legion of devoted fans. Holstein is, after all, the woman who created the cashmere bra-and-cardigan set that Katie Holmes turned into a global sensation. Injecting a sense of nonchalant glamour into day-to-day cosmopolitan living is Khaite’s bread and butter, and they do it extremely well. For SS ‘22—a show staged in a basement-turned-garden of Eden on the Lower East Side, dimly lit to dissuade the runway from becoming an ‘Instagram moment’—Holstein’s vision was pushed forward once again. Khaite’s evening wear has long been a brand staple, but this time it felt casual somehow. A silk white gown with plissè pleats and a woven harness bustier was worn with with flat woven loafers. Ditto for the sequin mini dress worn with chunky, orthopaedic-style sandals, and the embellished ruched ivory gown paired with an oversized bomber jacket.
And on the flipside, the daywear had a couture-like sensibility that would turn an early morning trip to the bodega into a full-blown fashion moment. Trench coats were souped-up in silver lamè, leather harnesses were worn over crisp white T-shirts. Ribbed knit dresses were worn off-the-shoulder with a low-slung studded belt, and the old reliable ‘jeans-and-a-black-tee’ combo was elevated with obscenely oversized leather hobo bags. It was a decidedly New York collection from a decidedly New York designer. Khaite’s A/W ‘20 collection was an overt love letter to Manhattan, inspired by the 1985 Martin Scorsese movie After Hours. “I mean, all the clichés are clichés for a reason: ‘If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere!’” she said at the time. “I’m proud to be a New York designer.” The feeling, no doubt, is mutual.