Runway Redux

For His Ready-to-Wear Debut, Jackson Wiederhoeft Plunges High Society into Dante’s Inferno

Jackson Wiederhoeft recently bought a bible for the first time in 10 years. “There’s a lot of Greek and Catholic imagery in this collection,” he told Surface at New York Fashion Week. A powder blue, ankle-length shift dress paired with opera gloves recalls the style of Jaqueline Kennedy Onassis—save for the glittery tableau of Saint Sebastian (“a nod to the patron saint of the gays,” he says). “Dante wrote Paradiso, and Purgatorio but we’d all rather read the Inferno. There's something inherently human about wanting to know more about torture and the dark side. That's where the romance lies."

Credit: Don Ashby

Name: Jackson Wiederhoeft

Instagram: @wiederhoeft_

Describe this collection in three words: From another place.

Which look is your favorite?  The light blue column dress with lingerie embroidered on it. That captures a lot of who I am: I want to be sexy, but I want to be comfortable and not show any skin. It has darkly humorous whimsy that people have come to associate with the brand, which is important. The Saint Sebastian dress is objectively violent, but on the back there’s an embroidered tramp stamp that says ‘Kingdom Come’.

What was the inspiration behind it? Humanity means being multiple things at once. Motifs like lingerie, they have connotations within visual context. I think a lot of my work has to do with addressing those contexts and seeking to break them up, redo them, and see what happens.

Attending any parties or events this week? My mom is here. We’re going to the Waverly Inn for a mommy daughter dinner. I want to catch up with friends; I’m looking forward to circling back with my girls and celebrating.

Why did you choose to show in New York instead of another fashion week? What I do is so theatrical. The clothes live well in this space when people can experience a whole narrative performance. It’s a chance for people to see the clothes and get excited. I’m trying to make clothes of course, but in turn also create a fantasy that people carry outside of this room.

Two of Wiederhoeft's favorite looks. Credit: Don Ashby
Two looks inspired by Greek mythology, and concept sketches. Credit: Don Ashby (left); Jackson Wiederhoeft (right).
More concept sketches. Credit: Jackson Wiederhoeft.
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