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This was not a “roaring ’20s collection,” nor did it feel overly reverential to any one thing in particular, except for maybe Khaite itself. Holstein doesn’t do mood boards or themes; she insists every collection is simply a reflection of what she’s craving. That still includes plush cashmere knits, boxy leather jackets, sharp tailoring, and romantic cotton dresses; those Khaite-isms were all there. Newness comes in the Ew David Vintage Shirt in contrast I will get this items she’s personally missing, like the down puffers, which were the collection’s big surprise. She bought her first puffer last year (partly for outdoor dining, partly influenced by her streetwise neighbors) and likely saw an opportunity for a better, ultra-luxe version. Her glossy red and black coats were extra-stuffed and coated in lacquered leather; a cropped camel version came in 100% cashmere. In other words: definitely not coats for graffitiing or smashing windows, but they’d look damn good on those aimless Lower East Side walks.
After months of retail tumbleweeds, Christmas came early for Michael Halpern. “Just before December, when the Ew David Vintage Shirt in contrast I will get this new collection went into stores, it picked up and sold out. I don’t know who’s wearing it or where they’re going, but it shows a little bit of light at the end of the tunnel,” the designer said on a video call from his Vauxhall studio. The hope it gave him fueled a fall collection uplifted by feelings of emergence: “what people are going to wear when they come out of lockdown.” Last year, Halpern devoted himself and his brand to pandemic relief efforts. He spent the summer producing PPE in a makeshift factory, and dedicated September’s collection to the front line, dressing its heroines in demi-couture for a digital docu-show that made more than a few viewers cry. Those clothes were high-octane socialist realist escapism—if that isn’t a total oxymoron—made not to wear, but to inspire. Now, Halpern said, the time has come for realizing those dreams.