Though it was the first show of New York Fashion Week, CDLM was the show that had everything: top editors, niche models (including Tavi Gevinson and poet John Giorno), dreamy tunes, and space for everyone, from eager fashion students to industry veteran Bethann Hardison, who, for some reason that added a touch of curiosity to the room, chose to watch it from the floor, head resting on her hand, a grin stretched from ear to ear. It was the kind of calm before a storm that made you want to chase the magic instead of leaving early.
CDLM, the newest brand to hit the calendar, is the brainchild of Chris Peters, one-half of the contemporary womenswear label Creatures of The Wind. Beyond the fact that it's fashion's shiniest new object, it's a glimpse into what many think fashion should be. For the past few seasons, Fashion Month has found itself in a state of flux: be it influencers versus editors, show locations, the weather, street style, there's always something to bitch about. But CDLM is nothing like that. The clothes were concise — 20 looks that hit the sweet spot of quality and quantity — and clean, though skillfully layered. Most importantly, they were wearable.
So it makes sense that CDLM — or Cueva de las Manos, which means "cave of the hands" and represents the handwork that goes into his collections — is Peters at his best. He studied menswear, after all, which makes his return to it post-Creatures more of a skip than a jump. Telling Vogue ahead of his debut, Peters finds yet another problem with fashion: Losing the delicacy of one's vision to commercialism, e.g. selling your soul to people who don't really get it. CDLM is an antidote: "I started CDLM...to try capturing a real appreciation of time, culture, and memory. Part of the collection is recycled vintage; you are not erasing history, but adding to it. I don’t want those pieces to feel like costume, but something new and exciting — playing with their existing identities."
Be it hand-me-down T-shirts and hoodies paired with bombers traced in yarn, a crisp navy suit, a worn-in leather trench, metallic moon boots camouflaged as heels, and who knows what else, CDLM's debut wasn't intimidating, nor was it overtly cool — it was real.
Genderless, ageless; not ahead of its time, but right on time; ingenious without knowing it; a freshly written love letter to styles and silhouettes most people already own, which could be a step in the right direction to quelling fashion's limitless thirst for newness; a solve to not just the daily conundrum of "I have nothing to wear" as we stand in front of a closet full of shit, but the rhetorical "Should I buy this?" (Yes, you should).