Gauntlett Cheng's Says "Bye Bye" to Fall/Winter

Gauntlett Cheng's Says "Bye Bye" to Fall/Winter

At the Church-In-The-Bowery last night, the young fashion duo talked defying fashion dogma.

At the Church-In-The-Bowery last night, the young fashion duo talked defying fashion dogma.

Text: SAMUEL ANDERSON

Church was a fitting venue for Gauntlett Cheng’s elegiac “Bye Bye” collection, which marked its final Fall/Winter effort before 2020, when the line will downshift to just one full collection per year. For a young brand, the pivot may seem like sacrilege, or at least a reason for devotees to Gauntlett Cheng, with its small-batch techniques and inclusive tailoring applied to everything from knit cardigans to racy evening wear, to grieve. But at St. Marks Church-In-The-Bowery last night, founders Esther Gauntlett and Jenny Cheng were hardly in mourning, explaining their desertion of the old-world fashion calendar as a means to preserve the complex and personal approach they’ve cultivated since 2015.

“It’s about us sustaining ourselves as people,” says Esther. “We would much rather make sure that we love what we’re doing, and create clothes that we like, [than expand].” Adds Jenny: “We're very small. It’s Esther and I, and a few wonderful people and friends who help us put this on. We don’t have a huge team.”

As to whether the new schedule will limit commercial growth, Esther says their instincts have yet to lead them astray. “We spent a long time trying to figure out what people would buy, and then last season we were both like, ‘Fuck it, let’s just make the clothes that we really want to,’ and then people bought those clothes...When we do what we want, it works out better all around.”

The Fall/Winter showing was a tongue-in-cheek farewell, visually more circle-of-life than somber: among the earth tones and teddy-bear prints, the collection saw a skirt and coat made from deadstock Ferragamo fabric. “It’s just fun to experiment with someone else’s branding—treating that as a print and then seeing how we can fold that into our own textiles,” says Esther. Mixing the carnal—skimpy, au naturel silhouettes and kitten heels—with the juvenile—mud-slung, oversized gardening boots—“Bye Bye” seemed to default to pragmatism, as if to say, fashion cycle or no, Gauntlett Cheng will continue to cultivate its garden.

Which is not to say their last February show lacked any sentimentality. As Dido’s “White Flag” soundtracked the finale, the duo found themselves overcome. “That [song] brought us to tears in the end. We were both upstairs [crying],” Esther reports. “But also because we’re both so damn tired.”

Gauntlett Cheng AW19 (Photo: Mitchell Sams)

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