After leaving her stint as design director at Vera Wang and Gap, Cate Holstein set out to create the next It-brand with a focus on quality fabrics and minimalism. In 2016, Khaite arrived and it was perfectly on time.
The brand’s initial collections mirrored Phoebe Philo’s Celine roots with luxe basics and impeccable tailoring at the forefront. However, Khaite’s Fall/Winter 2020 runway took a turn this season by embodying the after dark aesthetic of a cool New York girl roaming her city late night.
Sexy, structured and sartorially pleasing, Holstein’s choice to have Bella Hadid open the show in an undone button-down spoke volumes about where the brand is and where it is heading. Buttery leathers and clean suited separates will always be Khaite’s signature DNA, but somehow the louder elements of animal prints, crystalized trimming and tulle managed to stay understated in all the right places.
The silhouettes were strong, and there was a white long-sleeve cut-out poplin dress, with the perfect power shoulder, that every modern bride is patiently awaiting to pre-order from Moda Operandi. It came in black, too. On the feet? Pointed toe kitten heels in a ruched bright fabric.
Beauty remained one of the most interesting aspects of the show: Sleek wet hair with purposely black chipped nails, courtesy of JINsoon. “We wanted to create a realistic New York cool girl … with the perfect chipped nail look,” Jin Soon Choi told us backstage about the manicure – which used a rich, shiny black lustrous hue.
Maybe this is just the beginning of a new wave for the New York-based brand. The Khaite girl, whose closet was once all about softness and clean lines is officially keeping us on our toes.