Eckhaus Latta: confused

Eckhaus Latta as a label is successful in many senses. It introduces a relatively distinct style to the market. It is innovative and unique in its presentations. To many, it is quite an artistic label and has created a niche market with success. In my opinion, their presentations are amazing, and many of my classmates in the recitation section would agree as well. These interesting ways of showing the collections incorporate many artistic ideas and concepts that enrich the meanings of fashion show. I enjoy the label’s aesthetics too, both that of the collection and the styling. But there seemed to be some issues with lecture the designers gave on Wednesday.

In the recitation section. We had a debate on the value of some creations of the brand, particularly the video featuring some old Asian women.  Some students, including me, find the video a bit jarring as it seems to be too free-flowing, illogic and hard to grasp. In my reading, the video is somewhat like a joke with a degree of foolishness reflected in those elderly Asian Women through the way they talked and the exercises they do. After I have read a news article on Eckhaus Latta describing its style as weird but beautiful, I realized maybe the video wanted to explore the same type of sensibility. It is indeed quite weird and not very whimsical. Those Asian Women talk weirdly and exercise weirdly in the video. Some scenes only feature a single head, highlighting the weird and unfamiliar facial expressions of those Asian Women. Many students would find the video hardly make sense from the traditional standpoint of what a fashion video is about. Then some students mentioned the lecture is not well organized and logic. We were not even clear what the brand identity is.  Some in the class then suggested maybe this is what the brand’s artistic pursuit. Hence it got really interesting how everyone reacted to the lecture differently. Many were confused. A few, however, applauded. What I found somewhat jarring is the designers’ attitudes towards fashion design. They described it as if they are just trying to have fun. They wanted to do it back in the day and suddenly they found a lot of resources and supports in their artistic and commercial friends circle. Everything sounds easy and fun. They are not serious nor passionate about both design and commerce. This is perhaps why I felt uneasy about the video of Asian Women. I feel I was a bit fooled and I felt the elderly women in the video are fooled too.

The sign of transgression in Eckhaus Latta is obvious comparing it to regular fashion labels. However, what I could not really settle on is the fact that these artists make the label playful and jokey in a way that is inaccessible and unreadable to many people. Like what Shayna questioned in the class, is “artistic” here an excuse for what they do or a really significant feature in their work? I do not know.

By Peng

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4 responses to “Eckhaus Latta: confused

  1. Thanks for your post Peng, I appreciate your thoughts and insights on your interpretation of Eckhaus Latta’s presentation. I agree with you that the brand seems to be doing a lot of good things for the industry, and their clothing offers a different perspective to fashion. I was one of those people who was a bit confused about the presentation as well. Maybe it was simply that presenting is not their strong suit, or maybe I missed the point. But as I stated in my blog post as well, I believe the contextualization of their work would have been extremely beneficial to those of us who saw their videos as jarring and a bit confusing. I don’t think that we didn’t appreciate the different perspective Eckhaus Latta was offering, but an explanation of their contentions with the current industry structure and how it led to their projects would have offered us a much-needed insight to their brand.

  2. I don’t quiet agree with you about the video, I didn’t receive it as a joke, on contrary in my opinion it carries love for the people, I think it was beautifully shot and in the respectful manner, it brings awareness and respect for the elder people and healthy practices that young ones forgot. The only thing is probably they should have put the names of the people for credits.
    I as well did not understand why people in our class was so confused with the identity of Eckhaus Latta. I believe they have quite clear and constant visual identity with a common thread that goes through all their work. And perhaps it is not always must be conveyed by spoken word. What about other artists out there, or dancers, who express their identity by movement, they are not asked to explain what their dance means, though somehow from the fashion creation its seems to be the must.

  3. I feel like for Eckhaus Latta it is the journey that teaches them about their destination. Mike Eckhaus included a photo of all their clothes dumped on the pavement after being unloaded from their fashion show and remarked how he found this juxtaposition of value interesting, ‘when the clothes are precious, and when they aren’t anymore.’ He didn’t intend to ponder the value we place on objects but the situation arose and he did, he pondered. That ponder probably lead to more creations. At first, I thought perhaps they have no intention and that is why they have no ‘third person mission statement’ to announce to us, to make it clear to us what they are about. Is that a problem? I thought…
    Mulling over your words, Peng, ‘they described it as if they are just trying to have fun’ I think I started to understand how I had confused their intentions for no intention. Maybe they are like kids learning limits, they put objects and situations and statements and questions and just about anything they can create into the world and wait to see the reaction, and it is these reactions, which teach and guide them. For me these reactions are what I actually really do find interesting in terms of Eckhaus Latta. So yes, I think they are having fun and I think they are ‘playing’, but playing to learn and surely we cannot find fault with designers and consumers learning?

  4. Yunxi – it looks like you started a very good conversation in the comment section of your post. In the first paragraph of your post you mention that EL: “…introduces a relatively distinct style to the market. It is innovative and unique in its presentations.” What do you think their distinct style was? Was that clearly communicated visually? Perhaps we can exercise some different ways of making meaning from their presentation than a discussion of USP for instance as was the case with Faustine Steinmetz. Thank-you for sharing your thoughts!

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