December 10, 2020: It’s an ordinary Thursday working-from-home from my studio in uptown Manhattan, except for the fact that I have guests: supermodels Sasha Pivovarova, Ruth Bell, and Grace Bol—among others—taking turns walking down my short hallway, treating it like a high-fashion catwalk. They wear silhouettes from the Khaite Pre-Fall 2021 collection, a lineup of luxury pieces inspired by the alluring and sometimes overwhelming New York fashion scene. I haven’t gone crazy, I swear, but I have officially experienced the magical technology that is augmented reality.
This experience is courtesy of the Khaite’s AR feature, one of three ways to intimately engage with the New York-based label’s upcoming collection (others include a short film and a limited-edition magazine). Creative director Catherine Holstein introduced the technology for its Spring 2021 collection this past September, looking for a unique way for fashion mavens and enthusiasts to interact with the ready-to-wear collection—and potentially change the way we shop for luxury fashion entirely.
“Last season marked our foray into AR as a way to visualize certain items in extraordinary depth and detail, and now we’ve taken it to the next level, Holstein says in a statement. “With a few taps, you can be watching a fashion show in your living room and see it from every angle.”
As someone who typically peruses websites, customer reviews, and social media for hours on end, desperate to know how a high-end piece will look from every angle, this technology is a godsend. How it works is that you scan the QR code on the label’s website via your phone camera and follow the link to its website. Then, tap the look you want to see up-close, and then tap the space (i.e. a hallway, or your living room) where you’d like to place the model. She will look tiny at first, but you can make her look more realistic by pressing on the model in an outwards pinching motion. The experience requires a little practice, but once you master it, you’ll want to see every look.
The collection is a strikingly accurate reflection of fashion you might have seen on the streets of Gotham as a kid and thought, “How does she do it?” or “What’s her story?” Holstein’s urban-inspired vision is played out with patent leather trenches styled with thigh-high boots and fishnet tights, statement sleeves, artfully ruched, off-the-shoulder bodycons, and minidresses. A small selection of the collection (pictured below) is available to shop on Khaite’s website, where you can also view the collection in its entirety.
“At a time when we’re all determined to reach the other side of this challenging period but are unsure what that looks like or how exactly we’ll get there, this collection is about momentum—being propelled by personal strength and glimmers of hope,” Holstein says. “I wanted to explore the notion of ‘getting through,’ of making your way by surrounding yourself with what you feel you need.”
“The instinct to seek comfort and to retreat into nostalgia is tempered by a craving for escape and by moments of pure joy,” she adds.
Press play on the video below to watch the Khaite Pre-Fall 2021 short film, shot by Hanna Tveite.