Puppets and Puppets Fall 2024 Ready-to-Wear Collection


It felt significant that Puppets and Puppets’s Carly Mark was showing her last ready-to-wear collection, for now, in a skyscraper in Midtown as the designer—a downtown darling who has the ability to channel Edie Sedgwick and Party Girl’s Mary—has decided to put the brakes on clothing and focus her energy on accessories. As such, she is making a compromise, walking a middle road, in order to keep her business afloat. It’s not ideal, or what she wanted to do, but “at this point in fashion, as a young designer, thriving is just surviving,” Mark said on a pre-show call.

The fall collection was already in progress when the numbers failed to add up. “It would’ve been smarter for me not to [continue with the collection],” the designer said, “but I needed to finish what I started, and I also needed it as a gesture to say goodbye to New York. [Mark is moving to London]. So I’m doing it on my terms… the rug isn’t being pulled out from under me.”

The floor on which the models walked to a full-capacity crowd was solid concrete; the soundtrack, which included Mozart’s “Requiem” and a mash-up of Sinead O’Connor’s “Nothing Compares 2 U” felt ironic rather than maudlin. It’s likely the collection will also be read, by some, in a sardonic vein. There were, admittedly, lots and lots of tights, but then again Mark wants the brand to reflect who she is, and that’s what the artist-turned-designer likes to wear when she’s in an Edie mood, just as she dons a hoodie and T-shirt when she feels like a basement lord. There was something seemingly haphazard about the lineup, which featured lots of wrapping and twisting and things tied on, while models clutched at their get-ups. This wasn’t to keep the clothes on, explained Mark backstage, but a gesture borrowed from fittings. Clutching one’s heart is also an instinctual movement made when things go south. Many of the patterns took the form of spirals; perhaps a metaphor for unraveling. Veils suggested an element of religion, which, if you think about it, has a twisted logic. For the time being, Mark is, in effect, becoming a fashion nun, in the sense that she’s abstaining from clothes making.

Along with the more revealing looks were those that were almost proper (see the fur stole and LBDs). “Lady is a word we’ve actually been using a lot in the office,” said Mark. “When anything feels a bit lady, we fuck it up a little bit. But I think swans are an interesting conversation because Capote, in a way, was the puppet master to these refined women—or at least tried to be. I am really interested in not letting that happen to me. I am the puppet master. I am in control of my life and myself and the decisions I make. So if anything, I’m both Capote and the swan.”

Mark is already plotting how to get her ready-to-wear business back off the ground. Poignantly, the two wing-like half dresses in the collection when worn together, formed a whole.

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