Elena Velez Fall 2024 Ready-to-Wear Collection
Despite its tenuous nature, the connection between GWTW and the Greed Decade resonates with the current runway trends. Scarlett’s coquettish vibes align with TikTok trends like bows, as well as the O’Hara/antebellum aesthetic of corseted, crinolined, and tiered looks Velez created for the ball. There were also more plain-spun looks that resembled paintings by Hogarth. The designer described the garments as being “made of expensive silks and lowly acetate, cheap curtains, a couple of scraps… constructed in the same [kind of] tenuous and determined hands as the character they’re influenced by… Each look evokes an insistence on glamour in the face of apocalypse and a repossession of a time in women’s history when the sharpest weapon in her artillery was a red dress.”
Interestingly, scarlet-colored dresses are trending at a time when fashion, and the world, are on the edge. Velez, who has been highly acclaimed in the US and won both the CFDA/Vogue Prize and the CFDA’s Emerging Design award in 2022, has a keen fashion radar. Without the pressure of creating a full runway collection, she moved away from the aggressiveness of her past two collections to explore a more traditional kind of prettiness.
Velez was recently named one of the 2024 LVMH Prize finalists, which will further elevate her global recognition. While the French conglomerate is associated with material luxury, Velez has a different definition of the concept. She believes that fashion should bring context, meaning, solidarity, and a proposal of what could be to people’s lives.
The salon was a local event dedicated to an American author and story and was described as being quintessentially New York City. A diverse group of people came together for a multimedia experience that aimed to push boundaries and build community while placing clothing in a broader cultural context. Velez expressed her belief that part of her job as a fashion designer is to create spaces for engagement, which compelled her to try something new and risky.
Implied in O’Hara’s famous saying, “Tomorrow is another day,” is a belief in the future. New York remains a place where dreams can come true, and both the designer and the salon’s attendees seem to share the belief, as expressed in the lyrics of Sinatra’s song, “…if I can make it there / I’ll make it anywhere.”