For many designers, fashion is largely about rebellion. It’s an artistic middle finger to the norm one stitching at a time and, this season, designer Eric Schlösberg staged his revolt from high atop a penthouse suite at the lavish Plaza Hotel (much to the shock of the usual, straight-laced crowd gathered in the lobby). For spring '18, Schlösberg opted out of an extravagant runway and, instead, catered his audience with an appointment-only showing of this Americana collection. Gone were the uncomfortable seats and photographers yelling to uncross your legs—instead, cans of rose, macaroons and cake were offered as select models climbed on furniture, posed and saunterd around the penthouse while tracks like “Man! I Feel Like A Woman” played.
With slicked back hair and shiny, alien-like makeup, Schlösberg's models showed off a collection that featured feathered boas, Japanese denim the designer hand-treated in a bathtub, picnic prints, “I Swallow” hoodies and unisex, “Eric Schlösberg” printed underwear. It was a raucous, subversive display that was fit for the grimy, cross-country hitchhiker vision Schlösberg dreamt up. After the parade of clothes ended, we stepped onto the balcony to catch up with the queer New York designer and talk about his influences, inspiration and escapism.
OUT: Your past collections have been centered on Anna Nicole Smith and a “rogue Blair Waldorf.” Was there a central character that influenced this collection?
Eric Schlösberg: Pam Anderson. It’s weird, I don’t mean to have them be such specific characters. It didn’t start that way, but I fucking love her so what’s wrong with that?
She still looks incredible.
Pam is perfect. Literally flawless.
Tell me about the inspirations behind spring '18.
Wet Hot American Summer. Hitchhiking cross-country. In my mind, she was this sweaty, sexy sun-kissed girl—the kind of girl who would seduce you and then when you’re fast asleep in the morning, [she’d] grab your wallet, your keys, your car and run off to the next town.
How does it feel to bring your queer punk sensibilities to the Plaza Hotel?
Honestly, when we came to view it the first time around to see the space, it was me and my three interns—Matthew, Jovel and Bianca—and everybody in the lobby had their jaws drop and were like, “What the fuck are they doing here?” It was even more fabulous when I signed the contract for the penthouse suite.
How has this collection challenged you?
I think it was the first collection I’ve ever done where I really found my voice as a solo designer. I think breaking away from Elizabeth [Ammerman] and doing my own thing was so exciting, but it took a minute to adjust to not having another person to throw things off of. Obviously Logan, my husband, is fantastic and my interns are great, but really finding my voice as my own designer has been the biggest challenge, but I couldn’t be more thrilled with what I just did. Whether it sells or not or if people hate it, that’s okay because I loved doing this from start to finish.
How has the political climate impacted you and your design process?
It’s hard because I live my life as a very informed individual and I have my beliefs and passions, but when I do this, I try to shut all that out. The point of fashion, for me, is an escape. I want to forget about that and the people who wear my stuff to, unfortunately, accept the world for where we are right now and maybe take a break for a minute and slip into a fantasy for just a second.
Photography: Hunter Abrams