Khaite has recently moved into new offices in lower Manhattan. On the 9th floor of a NoHo building, the corner space offers blocks-long views east and south, as well as into nearby penthouses. You couldn’t ask for a New York-ier spot. That’s fitting for designer Catherine Holstein, who takes style cues from the dark glamour of the city circa the ’80s and ’90s. “That independent, New York, strong, stealth woman—that is who I’m designing for,” she said at her show in September.

The pre-fall Khaite collection is very much in keeping with that spirit. In these moodily lit pictures Vittoria Ceretti models sculpted double-breasted jackets, lace-bodice silk slip dresses, and long leather trenches. The codes of cosmopolitan after-dark dressing don’t fluctuate all that much from decade-to-decade, even if Netflix and chilling has replaced nightclubbing as city denizens’ preferred pastime.

One surprise was the collection’s painted lip print; its cheeky whimsy lightened up a midi-length slip dress. This being a pre-collection, Holstein put more emphasis on before-dark dressing than she does on her runways. The silhouettes that were particularly convincing—that are likely to turn up in the offices she sees out her windows—include a long v-neck cashmere sweater whose hem gathers the precise pleats of the skirt worn beneath it, and an organza polo neck top worn over another breezy pleated skirt. Holstein duplicates all of her leather pieces in easier-on-the-wallet wool, and the wool version of an oversize bomber, heavy on the zip details, looked good too.

The designer had a stealth wedding in December, and there are two looks here that could tempt a Khaite-loving bride. The first is shirred white mesh, body-con and sexy; the second is sheer organza and faille over a delicate slip. She has the “something blue” covered too, in the form of low-heeled leather pumps and a playful shearling lined plastic sandal.

Read More