By
Rosie Dalton
Photography by
Joss McKinley

Styling by Jasmine Hassett. Models: Lily Blattner at D1 Models, Darron Clarke at IMG Models, and Zack Veasey at New York Models. Hair by Takashi Yusa at Melbourne Artists Management. Makeup by Linda Gradin at L’Atelier NYC. Stylist’s assistant: Elaine Ragland. Casting by Arianna Pradarelli.

THE 2018 LVMH PRIZE: ECKHAUS LATTA


For five years, the LVMH Prize has been one of fashion’s most coveted awards, offering a cash grant and invaluable support—along with endless press and industry attention—to a young designer under the age of forty. Each year, a shortlist is winnowed down to a group of finalists, from which the winner is selected by a coterie of creative directors and executives from the LVMH family, including Marc Jacobs, Karl Lagerfeld, Nicolas Ghesquière, Clare Waight Keller, and Humberto Leon and Carol Lim. In advance of this year’s award ceremony on June 6, The Last Magazine offers an in-depth look at each of this year’s nine finalists, all of them pushing fashion forward in their own fascinating ways.

Eckhaus Latta doesn’t project identity through its clothes but instead invites it—which is fitting, considering the brand is based between the bicoastal melting pots of New York and Los Angeles. As many other local brands decamp overseas to cities like Paris, though, designers Mike Eckhaus and Zoe Latta are quietly reshaping the face of American fashion, and it’s a refreshingly diverse vision that they are proposing. “We’re not looking to project ways of being onto people,” explains Eckhaus. “The clothes should be something that you can incorporate into your life in order to feel more like yourself.

“It is incredibly important for us to design for real people,” he reiterates, explaining that since launching the brand in 2011, the designers’ vision has been to create clothes that are highly wearable, but also allow people to express themselves in an authentic way. “The vehicle for that expression should not be singular, but should be molded to everyone.” It is for this reason that the brand has become renowned for casting their friends in fashion shows and for celebrating realness throughout their campaigns, all of which makes Eckhaus Latta a thoroughly modern brand and a serious contender for this year’s LVMH Prize.

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Named as a finalist for the prize earlier this year, Eckhaus Latta has been getting real about the business side of the brand ever since. In fact, according to Eckhaus, this is a shift that’s actually been taking place over the past two years or so. “Zoe and I both come from art school with a bachelor of fine arts,” he explains, “so at times, trying to have an MBA mentality can present a lot of learning curves.” The LVMH Prize process and the support network to which the winner will be allowed to connect is something that both he and his co-founder feel extremely grateful for, then, because it fosters conversations around how to grow the business side of the brand.

If Eckhaus Latta were to win the prestigious prize, he says that it is this mentorship and guidance which would be one of the most valuable assets for the brand. “Today I have been looking at spring fabrics and, all of a sudden, I’m talking about production logistics, just jumping back and forth,” Eckhaus says of the juggling act between the creative and commercial sides of the brand. Mostly, he laughs, he would just love to get back to the fabrics.

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“[The whole process] is enjoyable,” he says, “but it’s also nice to work with people who have a bit more know-how and guidance in [those commercial areas].” Of course, the passion of the larger Eckhaus Latta family has been incredibly important in making everything happen to date and the designers are the first to admit how lucky they are in this respect. “We have an amazing team of people who work their asses off and are really nailing it,” Eckhaus explains. “They are such smart individuals and they help to keep Eckhaus Latta afloat. At the moment it is just a small team, but it’s really intimate and allows us to expand into different areas.”

Some of those areas include the brand’s signature modern tailoring and knitwear—both of which now form the foundations for the Eckhaus Latta uniform—but accessories might also be on the horizon soon, the designer reveals, especially if an LVMH Prize win becomes a reality. “It would be amazing if we were to win the prize, not just because of the guidance and financial help we would have,” Eckhaus explains, “but also for us to really spawn into accessories.” Here the designer names shoes, bags, and small leather goods in particular as areas of interest for the brand going forward.

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Expanding the range to reflect an all-encompassing lifestyle brand makes total sense for the design duo now too—not least of all because they have already made the move into physical retail. Eckhaus Latta first opened its Los Angeles store in 2016 and has since dabbled in other locations with a New York pop-up as well. With their sights now set on really owning this space, the world of leather goods offers a compelling prospect both commercially and for their larger vision. As with any young brand, though, the challenge will be staying true to the core philosophy and brand identity of Eckhaus Latta—while also broadening their offering for future growth.

With this in mind, Mike Eckhaus and Zoe Latta are staunchly focused on maintaining their brand’s sense of authenticity. “We are not pretending to be something else,” Eckhaus says of the label’s accessible approach to design. “In this current fashion landscape, I think it’s important to have authenticity,” he reiterates. “It’s important for clothing to be a vehicle of expression for people, but also something that they can get excited about.” As one of fashion’s most-watched brands at the moment, it is safe to say that excitement is something of an understatement when it comes to Eckhaus Latta.

For more information, please visit EckhausLatta.com. Take a look at our features on Doublet, the winner of this year’s LVMH Prize, and ROKH, the winner of this year’s Special Prize, along with the rest of our portfolio of all nine finalists, including A-Cold-Wall, Botter, Charles Jeffrey Loverboy, Kwaidan Editions, Ludovic de Saint Sernin, and Matthew Adams Dolan.

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By
Rosie Dalton
Photography by
Joss McKinley

Styling by Jasmine Hassett. Models: Lily Blattner at D1 Models, Darron Clarke at IMG Models, and Zack Veasey at New York Models. Hair by Takashi Yusa at Melbourne Artists Management. Makeup by Linda Gradin at L’Atelier NYC. Stylist’s assistant: Elaine Ragland. Casting by Arianna Pradarelli.

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