Modest fashion from Vaquera and the Row at NYFW


The first half of this season’s New York Fashion Week brought with it a kind of sinful sexiness: Tom Ford, Chromat, Gypsy Sport, and Area all presented unrepentant interpretations of sensuality.

But toward the end, modesty took hold of runways, specifically at Vaquera and the Row, which leads one to wonder: Is Fall 2018 the ultimate season for modest fashion?

Vaquera’s virgin bride. (Photo: Imaxtree)

Vaquera, the design collective comprised of Patric DiCaprio, Bryn Taubensee, David Moses, and Claire Sully, presented a 37-piece collection high on fusing virtue and vice. Half the collection was comprised of the clergy and the devoted: a pastor’s cassock, a plaid nun, a virginal bride, and a christening gown. The other half included a vinyl ruffled devil, a “lost angel” with wing-shaped rhinestone-embellished denim, and a “sexy widow.”

Oh, and there were the fantastical looks of any fashion-minded gambler, a Queen of Hearts and a billiards corset. (The show notes were reminiscent of the kind of prayer that happens when you play a fool’s game, or perhaps the kind of childish plea lifted from a Judy Blume book: “Dear God, it’s me, Vaquera. Help me play the tables before my money runs out!”)

Vaquera’s plaid nun. (Photo: Imaxtree)

The brand earned distinction as a Council of Fashion Designers of America/Vogue Fashion Fund 2017 finalist, an anointment that gave way to blessings from real fashion insiders like Vogue editor Lynn Yaeger, Man Repeller founder Leandra Medine, and designer Adam Selman, each of whom attended this season’s show.

If you’re not offended by Vaquera’s brand of blasphemy (a titillating Peaches track played while the virgin bride closed the show carrying an oversized rosary), then you might realize a lot of the collection included loose-fitting clothing, headscarves, and midi-length hems, the cornerstones of a modest wardrobe under certain belief systems.

Or perhaps praying at the altar of the Row is more your style. Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, the fantasy heirs-apparent to Celine now that Phoebe Philo, queen of the working girl’s wardrobe, is out, presented their vision for Fall 2018. The exceptionally elegant, minimalist collection included sculptural suiting, inviting bathrobe-style coats, and an array of pleated skirts that ooze assured chicness. By the end of the collection, we’re met with an ecclesiastical ethos, the kind of thing you’d expect to see on a puritan.

For the first decade of the new millennium, self-professed modest dressers didn’t have a prayer when it came to finding fashionable demureness. As we approach a new season (and a Met Gala whose theme is the intersection of fashion and the Catholic Church), it seems modesty now has a real place in the house of fashion’s supreme beings.

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