Entering into Selkie’s spring/summer time 2023 present venue was akin to becoming a member of an unapologetic celebration of all shapes, sizes, and types of femininity. Not simply due to the casting, however the viewers itself was a real testomony to the cult-like following of the model that founder Kimberley Gordon has created. At another vogue occasion, you would possibly see a couple of celebrities within the entrance row dressed within the label. However at Selkie’s second-ever look throughout New York Vogue Week, nearly everybody was carrying one thing from the road, and the styling was extremely various: there have been witchy gothic appears, full-blown Lolita-style get-ups, and formal robes galore.
“It’s like woman code,” Gordon tells us of the Selkie neighborhood, a day earlier than the present, which occurred on the tail-end of final week on the industrial venue 99 Scott in Brooklyn. For the event, sheer pink material was hung from each window and daylight streamed onto the concrete flooring in shady rays, making the house seem like a secret hideaway from a trippy film. Because the begin of Selkie, Gordon has made it her mission to inventory every bit as much as a measurement 5X. “I’ve all the time been surrounded by and drawn to girls,” she says. “And I feel that it’s an actual reflection of the within of the model.”
The Selkie spring/summer time 2023 present was not solely definitively essentially the most measurement various runway present of all of NYFW, however it was additionally most likely essentially the most embracing of girlishness—with ruffles, bows, frills, outsized collars, and baggage that resembled pillows. Not a single mannequin wore pants! Gordon was impressed by the film The Final Unicorn and paid tribute to it with a group that extracted the whimsical vibes and reworked them into the sugarspun clothes that went down the runway. “My concept of The Final Unicorn is that this woman dwelling within the metropolis who doesn’t know she’s a unicorn,” she says. “Or possibly she’s the daughter of the final unicorn. She’s kind of an outsider, somebody that doesn’t ever really feel like they slot in, however attire wildly and free.”
Gordon launched Selkie into the world in 2018, after beforehand creating the informal girly model Wildfox, a favourite of Tumblr-era cool ladies well-known for its tissue-thin sweats and T-shirts coated in whimsical prints and drawings. She studied movie, and takes nearly all of her inspiration from that type of storytelling, leading to collections impressed by all the pieces from vampires to ’60s-era icons. “I’m all the time searching for a strategy to inform a narrative, as a result of vogue to me is extra than simply clothes—it’s such as you out of the blue get to placed on characters.”
Selkie was born with the puff gown, and some different staples that really feel absolutely female and intrinsically designed with the feminine gaze in thoughts. The puff gown, in all of its glory, is a hyper-short, barely floaty, and extremely voluminous frock with a powerful empire waist, which Selkie has reinterpreted because the begin, in all the pieces from rainbow hues to cloud prints and patterns that riff on Marie Antoinette.
“After I began the corporate, I used to be making all the pieces in Los Angeles, and I had this dream of constructing very princess-y attire,” says Gordon. “There’s nonetheless one thing actually romantic about that silhouette, and the historical past of it’s actually attention-grabbing. The historical past of the babydoll usually is kind of a feminist one.” Because the rise of the label’s puff gown, it has gone viral on TikTok and racked up quite a few fast-fashion knock-offs, however the silhouette remains to be inherently key to the model’s defining aesthetic, even regardless of the ubiquity of the gown. “This empire waist silhouette will all the time be the standard search for Selkie,” says Gordon.
It’s been one of many least measurement various seasons of vogue week in years, and in some ways, seems like we’re going backwards when the labels with the most important names and due to this fact, impacts, don’t make any effort in casting a minimum of one mannequin that doesn’t match the standard vogue measurement class. That’s one of many the explanation why Selkie attracted such a crowd this season and final: “After I began the corporate, I knew that I wished to have measurement inclusivity,” Gordon says. “However that to me means having silhouettes that really will be worn universally. I spotted, I’ve to have a look at my very own self. Like, what’s my fatphobia? What’s my story? Why didn’t I do it earlier than with my first model? I feel a whole lot of us have such extreme fatphobia, so pushed into us from such a younger age, that we truly can’t even see that it’s there.”
It’s not about being checked out, it’s about taking a look at your self [and] taking on house in your individual life.”
Past the inclusivity facet, Selkie’s model drives house the deep feeling of nostalgia that so many people are craving proper now. We’re dwelling in an period the place our tradition is at the moment obsessive about dolls, of all totally different kinds, and Selkie performs into that as properly: “Having this massive puffy gown on creates a kind of a determine that’s actually attention-grabbing, and it’s very doll-like,” says Gordon of the puff gown’ attraction. “A number of the ladies that wish to gown this fashion, I feel are fascinated about dolls, or had been once they had been little. There’s something so beautiful about pertaining to this childhood reminiscence or nostalgia.”
The opposite factor about Selkie’s covetable attire? They take up house, and plenty of it, which is a robust transfer within the age of being a girl in 2022. It’s not unusual that you just’ll knock one thing over in a crowded house whereas carrying one, and it’s additionally doubtless that you just’ll take up multiple seat in a puff gown. “If you put it on, you might be actually taking on extra space,” says Gordon. “Nevertheless it’s not about being checked out, it’s about taking a look at your self [and] taking on house in your individual life. A number of us, I feel, really feel we have now to cover, and there have been instances in my life the place I wished to only disappear, and I simply actually hope to alter that feeling for girls usually.”
It’s clear that Selkie is bringing one thing to vogue week that could be very a lot wanted. Maybe the one factor lacking from the Selkie universe is age range on the runway. Actually, there have been many older girls carrying the gloriously massive attire within the entrance row. Maybe the model’s cool-girl standing can be rooted within the celebratory vibes of all of it too. The pandemic solely actually feels prefer it just lately ended, and dressing up in a surprisingly female gown is a robust assertion in an on a regular basis setting.
“After they placed on that gown, they really feel like crying or celebrating,” Gordon says. “I’ve one woman within the present who I don’t suppose is ever dressed this fashion; she could be very shy. And he or she appeared within the mirror and she or he needed to look away and look again.” Possibly essentially the most thrilling factor of all of it is leaning into dressing that feels completely, unabashedly, in celebration of girlhood.
Kristen Bateman is a contributing editor at Harper’s Bazaar. Her first vogue article was printed in Vogue Italia throughout her junior yr of highschool. Since then, she has interned and contributed to WWD, Glamour, Fortunate, i-D, Marie Claire and extra. She created and writes the #ChicEats column and covers vogue and tradition for Bazaar. When not writing, she follows the most recent runway collections, dyes her hair to match her temper, and practices her Italian in hopes of scoring 90% off Prada on the Tuscan retailers. She loves classic purchasing, dessert and cats.