at eckhaus latta’s afterparty, trinkets were trending
The brand lets loose during NYFW with a balloon-filled celebration of self-expression and tchotchkes.
"The inspiration is crap," Mike Eckhaus told me at his after party at Red Bull Studios last night, giving me the best response of fashion week to a dull but inevitable question. He was flanked by giant Eckhaus Latta balloons. Downstairs, in between the patio, from which the smell of weed occasionally drifted, and the DJ booth, from which hip-hop consistently boomed, there was a gift shop. It sold tchotchkes: Eckhaus Latta ponchos, umbrellas, martini glasses, keychains.
"It's basically all the stuff you'd get gifted and never really want," Eckhaus said. The effluvia of the universe? "Exactly."
Which might be a bit coy, considering that tchotchkes Eckhaus Latta produces — for instance, a sex kit containing condoms, lube, and poppers, created in collaboration with Bjarne Melgaard — have sold out in the past. And the "crap" selling at the party last night wasn't your standard duty-free junk. Most of it was etched with cryptic poetry. The martini glass: "Balancing on the hood of a car topless holding a rare cat and a 4-year-old boy. How a TV show can ruin a city." The water bottle: "Trust everyone. Because everyone trusts you." The poncho: "No two nipples are the same distance apart. Did you know that?"
The ponchos were given out at the runway show earlier that day, held outside in Chinatown's Seward Park. The show gave basics an art-house twist (chunky knits with dangling threads, a grey raincoat whose texture resembled a garbage bag). The party's gift-shop concept was unrelated to the show, according to the designers, but it was hard not to see similarities. Like the clothes, the event felt intimate and unpretentious, a place where weirdos could be themselves. Makeup was minimal. Body hair abounded. More guys at the party were wearing heels than girls. Several couples made out passionately, giving the phrase "No two nipples are the same distance apart" new meaning.
As "Cut It" by O.T. Genasis played, a boy who looked like he couldn't be older than 19 dropped to the floor to crawl-dance, limbs flailing back and forth. I've never seen anyone dance with as much abandon — or as relaxed an attitude towards body odor — at a fashion week party. After so many whiffs of the same CDG perfume, it was refreshing.
I didn't get a souvenir at the gift shop, but I did find a gift on the dancefloor that fit the party's mood: a tub of Vaseline. A hint from the universe, perhaps, of the pleasure that comes from being unabashedly yourself.
Text Alice Hines