Vaquera Spring/Summer 2018
But beyond questioning what their own brand is and where it fits into the fashion landscape, the designers tapped into America’s confused, angry mood. “The overall American vibe at the moment is an identity crisis,” Sully continued. “Everything is upside-down at the moment. A lot of people are mad, or want to be mad or don’t know how.” She pointed out that a boxing gym, the show’s location, is the perfect place to “channel that energy.”
Vaquera consistently, deftly messes with Americana, examining how touchstones like Tiffany bags and Che Guevara t-shirts can be rendered so cliché as to be meaningless while simultaneously retaining value to millions of people. This season, they turned to the West Coast, showing prints reminiscent of 2000s-era surf brands like Roxy and Quicksilver. It was Southern California as viewed through pop culture (the soundtrack, mixed by DJ Bebe, amazingly featured remixes of the theme songs from The OC and Big Little Lies). They’ve previously interpreted New York and Paris through a similar lens.
“We’re familiar with knowing New York from Sex and the City, California through The OC,” said DiCaprio, who grew up in Alabama. “It’s interesting. I think for most Americans, that’s how they see these places.”
The models, cast by Walter Pearce of Midland Agency, stomped through the boxing gym. It’s Pearce’s signature—he also walked in the show, in an oversized Abraham Lincoln t-shirt—and while it matched the intensity of the location, the fact that the models were practically running also made it nearly impossible for attendees to take phone pictures. I mean, people, including me, still managed to do it, but you did have to pay a lot more attention than at a standard runway show. You had to be in the moment, and it made for a singular experience. People cheer at Vaquera shows. It feels good.