The word of the season, as declared by Cate Holstein, was “ferocity,” and the main protagonist, undoubtedly, was New York. This was strongly evident in the commanding Khaite runway show that took place on a Saturday night. A bold statement was made by the designer as she took over the Park Avenue Armory, a venue traditionally associated with Marc Jacobs‘ shows. This audacious move was a reflection of Khaite’s Spring/Summer 2024 collection, which skillfully married strength and subtlety, echoing the complexities of the world we inhabit.
Holstein collaborated with her husband, Griffin Frazen, a designer of sets and spaces for notable artists like Grimes, Oneohtrix Point Never, and Thom Yorke, to design the dramatic spot lighting that followed models as they navigated the vast drill hall of the Armory with determination and grace. This illuminated journey through darkness symbolized the larger struggles faced by society, particularly women, in a world overshadowed by political turmoil. Holstein subtly incorporated this theme into her designs, with belt buckles and cuffs shaped like clasped hands, alluding to the restrictive social expectations placed on women.
The Khaite Spring/Summer 2024 collection, however, was more than a commentary on societal issues. It was a celebration of the perfect piece. The collection featured precision-tailored elongated blazers with pronounced lapels, mega power shoulder coats, and coveted leather looks, such as the oversized black leather bomber and a white leather, rounded shoulder, cropped double-breasted jacket. Each piece was crafted to inspire confidence.
Holstein also introduced silk gazar into her design palette, creating romantic peasant blouses with voluminous sleeves tucked into black cigarette pants or shorts, and sleeveless dresses that seemed to float over the body. The collection played with sensuality, featuring weightless ruched silk dresses that hugged the curves before dissolving into fringe over the legs, and leather dresses shaped at the waist by subtle corsetry, ultimately all about ease. The bags were also noteworthy, including a brass-accented clutch resembling a gold bar, and the Aimee transformed into a kiss-lock tote.
Holstein’s approach to design is more evolutionary than revolutionary, favoring the power of style over the pressures of fashion. This approach was evident in the Spring/Summer 2024 collection, which, while acknowledging the darkness of the world, also celebrated the strength and resilience of women.
“With everything going on in the world, and even in America, things we haven’t seen in a long time,” Holstein said backstage, highlighting the belt buckles and cuffs molded into the shape of clasped hands as a commentary on the restrictive social norms faced by women.