Finally, a Designer Making New Age Clothing Fran Drescher Would Wear
In the series What I Loved Yesterday, Harper’s Bazaar editors highlight one standout look from the previous day at New York Fashion Week.
Like most people from Queens, I felt the need to defend my outer borough’s fashion reputation last month. We all banned together when a TikToker who went viral for flaunting perplexing outfits—like neon hoodies tucked into underwear worn as pants and cartoon pajama pants layered under denim jorts—told The Cut people from Queens and Harlem just wouldn’t understand.
Regardless of how you feel about her outfits, what she was suggesting was offensive and tired. People always assume the kind of style New York is famous for only exists below 14th street, meanwhile most of the trends we’re seeing today originated outside of it, in places like Queens, and Harlem. Emerging designer Colin LoCascio, though, has always known that, because he’s from Queens too.
His designs, which have been worn by Rosalia, Riley Keough, Iris Apatow, and Lady Gaga, are inspired by the woman he grew up around. They’re loud and colorful, sequined and fringed. They feature flowers and frogs and feathers. LoCascio’s clothing is made for woman whose style is as loud as her voice; the kind of woman who would more likely mention Fran Drescher as a style icon than Chloë Sevigny.
Yesterday, at his second ever runway show and his first as a 2023 CFDA fashion fund finalist, that quirky eccentricity was on full display. Backstage, the designer told me he drew inspiration from his seventh birthday party.
There was a dress with beaded ribbon reminiscent of the icing of a cake and tops with three-dimensional sequined dolphins that would make Lisa Frank proud. He name checks the famous early aughts illustrator, whose punchy color palette was evidently present, as an inspiration but also the feeling of being a kid who wears what they want with no perception of what’s cool or trendy.
That sentiment is always what I’ve loved about LoCascio’s work. It reminds me of being really young and dumb and wide eyed. And it’d be easy to just write off what he does as Y2K, but it’s more than that. His pieces don’t just vibrate with the color of another more carefree time but with the true feeling of it. And I think that has to do with the type of woman who is his muse.
LoCascio isn’t inspired by someone so smug to think their look is too high brow to be understood by people who live in a different area code, but by the women who grew up in Astoria or Forest Hills or Flushing; with immigrant parents who didn’t pass down a collection or Birkin bags or a closet chock full of runway looks but a knack for mixing and matching and constantly rewearing different prints and patterns together. That resourcefulness feels more New York than any conceptual outfit could ever be.
What I enjoyed most from this collection were the dresses, which I’d love to see someone like Olivia Rodrigo wear on the red carpet. The Colin LoCascio floral sequin gown Iris Apatow wore to the Vanity Fair Oscars After-Party this past March is still one of my favorite red carpet looks of the year. It just screamed ‘She had style! She had flair! She was there.’ And I think that type of unpretentious playfulness is something fashion could certainly use far more of.
Colin LoCascio Spring 2024
Tara Gonzalez is the Senior Fashion Editor at Harper’s Bazaar. Previously, she was the style writer at InStyle, founding commerce editor at Glamour, and fashion editor at Coveteur.