You better come hungry — Dauphinette is serving up a sartorial feast.
Known as “the happiest brand on Earth,” the New York City label, helmed by creative director Olivia Cheng, on Saturday presented its fall/winter 2024 ready-to-wear collection, titled “The Vegetarian,” fresh off Cheng’s own bedroom floor.
“Even after desperately seeking out the technical skills and know-how to make astute ready-to-wear, my favorite things are made on the floor of my apartment,” she wrote in the show notes, adding that the name was ripped from the lyrics of the 2008 hit “DONTTRUSTME” by 3OH!3.
Cheng’s “Bedroom Floor Couture” is a stark deviation from her past meticulously polished collections. Instead, she delivers a line more visceral rather than appeasing — something to satisfy — pandering to Gen Z’s aptitude for eccentric maximalism.
While still paying homage to Dauphinette’s playful character and quirks with seas of beads, splashy colors and dazzling embellishments, the 30 looks felt more DIY, hand-crafted and experimental with intentional imperfections — like dangling threads and asymmetrical details, a delicate balance of Cheng’s duality of “ethereal and feral.”
The collection, presented in St. Mark’s Church in-the-Bowery, utilized over 600 beetle wings, tens of thousands of braided hair strands, and misfit utensils, hinging on motifs of guiltless hunger and sartorial insatiety.
Some garments were made from items commonly found in a home — skirts adorned with dozens of safety pins, forks fashioned into eyewear, and a frock formed from a basketweave of neckties.
Other pieces were undeniably Dauphinette, like oversized jackets and ponchos drowning in beading and rhinestones, shoes made with long strands of hair — and a nod to the brand’s beetle motif, with the green metallic critters stitched onto jackets and dresses.
And, of course, consumers’ appetites could not be satiated without food. As a continuation of the brand’s jovial play on a literal baguette bag, this season introduced a tote made of faux prosciutto.
“Dauphinette is always darling,” fashion analyst Mandy Lee wrote on Threads after the show, applauding the garments that were “reworked, made with found objects, upcycled or repurposed in some way.”
“People who say NYFW is dead or uninteresting are either going to the wrong shows or only care about where they’re seen,” she added.
Lamenting the “abstinent pursuit” of “commercial happiness” with her designs, Cheng writes: “I’m a growing, sartorially starving girl, and I have to live up to my appetite.”