The centerpiece of Sanchez-Kane's spring '18 presentation was a black copy machine--the same one you'd find in a corporate office packed with cubicles, only this one was lit with a single spotlight and covered in red duct tape. One by one, models began filing onto the runway and taking turns at the machine, where they made copies of their handprints--peace signs, closed fists, open palms--and taping the prints onto pillars.
"Find your group of misfits and levitate together," says designer Barbara Sanchez-Kane, echoing the diverse group crowded together in her clothes--outsiders finding cohesion through "emotional chaos."
Pulling inspiration from her Mexican background and inner feelings, Sanchez-Kane mined her own journal entries and childhood memories to create a production that spoke to the many trials and errors of life. A strong sense of youthful naivety pervaded her collection, and all the beautiful disorder that comes with learning, making mistakes and celebrating your individuality.
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The looks were maximal, layering ideas on messages on ideas--an excessive approach grounded by the garments' beautiful tailoring, which Sanchez-Kane is known for. Structured blazers were decorated with appendages sweeping across the body and overcoats with colorful, floral patches. Eclectic styling added to the show's disarray with neck and headpieces made from plastic bottles, rabbits' feet encased in holsters and dangling from sunglasses, and red roses tucked in pockets.
Sanchez-Kane infused her heritage throughout, most notably on a pair of pants designed with wood-beaded seat covers frequently used in Mexican taxi cabs. Models' long, patterned braids were directly referential to Latinx culture, as well as bold tapestries on the back of jackets and pieces labeled with, "Haute Couture Barrio." The designer's cast and a majority of her production team were people of color, which was an intentional celebration of the Latinx community.
"For me, it was really important that we stayed true to the brand and the concept of the collection," said Phil Gomez, who produced Sanchez-Kane's show. "Although the collection is meant for everyone, I felt the show needed to stay true to celebrating and showcasing a real representation of Latinx talent, and we did that through casting. I'm happy to say that 90 percent of the team and models were people of color."
Photography: AKLO NYC