love, light, and latex at creatures of the wind fall/winter 17
Backstage after Creatures of the Wind's fall show today, Julee Cruise, the elusive Twin Peaks songstress and surprise star of last season's Creatures show, hugged designers Shane Gabier and Chris Peters. Nearby, models rolled their legs out of glossy brown latex stockings. Actress Rowan Blanchard came to say hello, wearing a liquid silver Creatures gown from the spring collection. Tavi Gevinson stopped by to congratulate the designers, with a "NEW YORK WOMAN" pin from women's club The Wing attached to her camel coat. This season, Gabier and Peters celebrated friendship, and the loving community of strong, idiosyncratic women who have supported them (and vice versa) since their brand's beginnings in 2008.
The designers even enlisted their friends to walk the runway. Filmmaker Zia Anger appeared in a shaggy black gilet worn over a turtleneck and delicate geometric-pattern chiffon skirt. Shane and Chris had collaborated with Zia on a project for Creatures five years ago, they explained, and have remained friends ever since. "It's always more exciting for us to see our clothes on our friends," said Chris, "When I think about someone who's cool and who I would like to wear the pieces, I think about Zia." One of the brand's former assistants walked too, in a black taffeta shift dress lit up by clusters of Swarovski crystals and layered over a sheer tulle top embroidered with sparkling trompe l'oeil necklaces.
"And I do like seeing the collection on a wide age range as well and on different body types," Chris continued, alluding to the diversity of the models. In both the clothes and the casting, a feeling of inclusivity and openness glowed through. "We played with uniforms and themes of communal living," the designers said, "It was really about finding a place where you belong, in weird and troubled times."
The loveliness of the clothes was a shield against those weird and troubled times. "In a lot of what's happening now, there is a sense of powerlessness. But I think there's a strength in beauty," said Chris. "It can help you steel yourself against the world. When all else fails, you always have beauty. I wanted everyone to feel really happy in what they were wearing. It's not even about feeling glamorous, it's about feeling at ease and loving yourself."
Going ham with Swarovski crystals and diaphanous silk, or presenting an ivory lace column dress weren't attempts to escape or deny world events, though. All those delicate touches felt rather like personal treasures gathered for self-protection. And the recurring combination of turtleneck with collared leather jacket supplied plenty of rebellious political undertones. As did the utilitarian low-heeled leather pumps, produced by a company that supplies female military personnel with dress shoes.
Then there were the knee-high latex socks and bags. Few other materials communicate defiant selfhood like latex. "Beyond any concepts, what it really came down to this season was doing things we really love with people we really care about," said Chris.
Text Alice Newell-Hanson
Images courtesy Creatures of the Wind