Photography: Kathleen O’Neill
Gauntlett Cheng consistently surprises me in the way they do sexy. Last season, it was Parisian luxury-meets-Wet Seal gaudy, and this season, the design duo made up of Esther Gauntlett and Jenny Cheng, took on Amish inspo with kinky cutouts. That might be hard to visualize, but there’s really no other way to describe it—think floor-length skirts and headscarves, then add a nipple-baring button-up. Now in their sixth season, the former Eckhaus Latta interns seem to have really nailed down what they do best, and that’s making unapologetically slutty fashion—their words, and mine. But aside from making empowered (and slightly fetishistic) clothing, the brand also has a remarkable way of joining extremes, while still feeling cohesive. In fact, I was surprised when I first found out Gauntlett Cheng comes from the mind of more than one person. A lot of designers have trouble presenting one determined vision—and that’s when they’re just by themselves. Now, add a second opinion, and focus on joining opposite styles, like conservative and crass. It just sounds like a recipe for disaster—and a disconnected bunch of clothes. But not with Gauntlett Cheng, who consistently sends A+ pieces down the runway.
For their latest collection, the designers fused classy workwear looks with tube tops, bodycon, boob cutouts and the most revealing bandage dress we’ve ever seen. It easily could’ve moved from good slutty to definitely not—but even the most revealing moments still felt slightly demure because of the color palette. Using muted greens, browns, plaids and floral, the collection was at the same time over-the-top and minimal, mixing the highly-sexualized cutouts with the girlish vibes of a lilac floral maxi and delicate bows. Through that juxtaposition, Gauntlett Cheng mastered the one thing all women are always fighting to figure out: how to be just the right amount of sexy, while also looking really fucking cool.
View the Gauntlett Cheng S/S ’18 collection, above.