New York Fashion Week Preview: Cushnie et Ochs Go "Softer and Lighter"

New York Fashion Week Preview: Cushnie et Ochs Go "Softer and Lighter"
Fashion designers Carly Cushnie (left) and Michelle Ochs.
(Courtesy Cushnie et Ochs)

Carly Cushnie and Michelle Ochs are known for turning out darkly sexy, cutout-heavy designs under their Cushnie et Ochs label, and so we were surprised to learn that they’re going in a more laid-back direction for spring 2013. “It’s much softer and lighter in feeling,” they told ARTINFO of their latest lineup, which will debut at New York Fashion Week September 7. Judging by the sketch they sent us, it looks like Cushnie et Ochs gave their signature body-con styles a beachy makeover with pops of color (hello, seafoam!). We caught up with the designers via email to chat about their surf inspiration, fashion week vices, and celebrity clients. 

What are the inspirations behind your spring 2013 collection? What’s on your mood board?

The collection explores the unique traditional dress and surf culture of Michelle’s Filipino heritage, drawing upon the country’s sharp architectural shapes and casual draped beachwear.

What can people expect to see in this collection? How is it different than your last collection?

This is probably the most personal and laid back collection we have ever done – it’s much softer and lighter in feeling.

What are your fashion week vices?

Ice green tea, pop chips, chocolate, and wine.

What is your first fashion week memory?

Sneaking into the tents while at Parsons.

Who are you designing for?

Women who want to look like women.

If you weren’t a fashion designer, what profession would you choose?

Cushnie: Interior designer.

Ochs: Product designer.

Is there any specific music that you’ve been listening to while working on this collection? Does music influence your designs at all?

The music we listen to changes based on the time of day – we really listen to everything. It tends to get more pumping in the evenings to keep us going, but it doesn’t really inspire the clothes for us.

Are there any artists or exhibitions that you’ve seen that have inspired this collection or your work in general?

Jason Hackenwerth.

What, in your mind, is the purpose of fashion?

To decorate our daily lives.

How do you decide what to wear on the day of the show?

We tend to wear the pieces that don’t make the show so we don’t decide until a day or two before the show. That way we still get to showcase them.

We’ve seen your dresses on so many red carpets lately – who was the last celebrity who really wowed you in one of your designs?

It’s a hard choice to make as they all look so great, but probably Eva Longoria in SS12.

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