Striking the right balance with casting is a difficult thing to do, but season after season, Mike Eckhaus and Zoe Latta of Eckhaus Latta and their eclectic lineup of muses and traditional models manage to nail it. This season included art scene fixtures like Juliana Huxtable and musicians like Dev Hynes, and above all there was the sense that the wearer is as important as the garment itself. Backstage at the Spring show, seasoned modeling vets like Cole Mohr and Zhenya Katava mingled with newcomers like Latta’s godfather Bart and indie actress India Salvor Menuez. The mix of ages, races, genders, and careers paths provided a welcome message of inclusive universality. We caught up with the designers—who cast the show themselves—to hear a bit about their casting process, as well as the benefits to filling their runway with friends, family, and other “nodels,” their term for those they have coaxed onto the catwalk.
What was the mood you were trying to create with this casting?
MIKE ECKHAUS: It’s always this kind of community that we like to build on—whether it’s really close friends, people we admire, or people who are doing work that we appreciate—that always helps to determine the casting structure. We’ve always liked the combination of working with industry models and “nodels”—friends and peers. I think it creates a more dynamic texture and quality to the clothing.
ZOE LATTA: It also helps to see the clothing on bodies and people who feel really confident and wear clothing really well, but it’s not about a singular ideal of body type. It really goes back to the wearer and what they bring to each look.
Are there any unexpected benefits to having non-models in the mix?
ME: Having both models and nodels allows everyone to stand out and be highlighted in their own right. It doesn’t feel like “here’s the same idea” over and over again. The models pop, the nodels pop, and it feels very whole.
Often your shows involve a performance aspect, but this season you went for a straightforward show. Why is that?
ZL: We were so honored to be able to use this space [Ralph Pucci International], and we worked hard on this collection, so we were excited to see the accessories and all the details. We thought adding more wouldn’t do anything for the collection, so we wanted to focus on the clothes.
Many of the people you’ve featured on Eckhaus’s runway—Hari Nef, Willy Cartier, et cetera—have gone on to big things. Who from this season should we be looking out for?
ZL: It’s funny, we never cast based on who we think will do well. This cast includes my godfather, some older friends from Los Angeles—we don’t choose based on who will become well known. As for who to watch, I would say the entire cast. Each of them brings something special.
ME: It’s interesting to see all of our careers growing together—now some of the nodels have to call their agents before they do the show, which is fun. Seeing them succeed is great. Suddenly we’re speaking with the biggest agents at Ford and IMG about people we’ve known for years.
The post How Eckhaus Latta Selected New York Fashion Week’s Coolest Cast appeared first on Vogue.
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