Ambition Is All-Consuming for This New York Designer

Welcome to The Runway RecapMarie Claire editors’ daily rundown of the best and most closet-worthy collections we’re seeing at fashion month.

When Olivia Cheng founded Dauphinette in 2018, she christened it “The Happiest Brand on Earth.” Her label started as a lineup of quaint, quilted floral outerwear; in the years since, it’s blossomed into a range of bright ready-to-wear and accessories so heavily embellished, hearing them walk down a runway is fashion week ASMR. But Cheng has decided happiness alone can’t guide her aesthetic anymore.

Guilt was the dominant emotion threaded through Dauphinette’s fall/winter 2024 collection, shown on day two of New York Fashion Week. In a sparsely decorated church on the Bowery, the label presented “The Vegetarian”: 30 looks with a darkly glamorous edge and a title cribbed from the 2008 3OH!3 pop song “DONTTRUSTME.” The clothing was sexier and sheerer than in the past, and in several cases, it was adorned with metal cutlery—pâté knives, the kind usually reserved for devouring animal guts. Belted midi skirts, tame in silhouette, were slit to reveal skin around the hip and lower stomach. One sheer white skirt was embellished with tiny safety pins.

Three looks from Dauphinette’s fall/winter 2024 collection, highlighting the designer’s move toward sexier, revealing shapes and textures.

(Image credit: Dauphinette)

Later on, a model appeared in a red, fully crystal-covered cape with the words “Bad To The Bone” emblazoned across the front; another wore an oversize black jacket embellished with a skimpy trompe-l’œil veil-and-underwear bridal set matching the satin pieces layered underneath. Lest that sound too sweet, it was accessorized with a mini bread-shaped bag covered in oversized studs and safety pins. The look encapsulated Dauphinette’s moment of gritty transition, made by a designer who is digging deeper into her roots and coming to terms with new desires for her brand’s future.

A Dauphinette model wearing a cape

One of the collection’s most striking pieces: a red cape coated in an embellished florals and the phrase “Bad to the Bone” along the collarbone.

(Image credit: Jena Cumbo Photo)

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