Witchy tones, carrots, and pumpkins set the stage for Puppets and Puppets’s new collection, with a theatrical feeling backed by a tap dancer
Puppets and Puppets as an emerging brand
Since its foundation in 2018, the New York-based fashion label has been increasingly on the radar. A shared creative endeavor between Carly Mark and Ayla Argentina, the brand gets its name from Mark’s dog, Puppet.
It is also meant to poke fun at how models walk on the runway and followers of fashion acts. Now, Mark takes on the role of creative director and publicist, while Argentina mainly works on sewing. The Fall 2022 collection, as always, emerges from the collective imagination of the duo.
Mark credits Argentina with her knowledge of garment construction and fashion history. This works as the perfect complement to her work, overseeing the art direction and deciding on themes.
Food and packaging as an inspiration for Carly Mark
With the Coven collection, the beating heart of New York’s emerging talents was at the Ukrainian National Home. Presented on the 13th of February, the show opened with a tap-dancing performance. This served as the only soundtrack throughout the show, which brought in the element of theatricality.
This aspect of performance is something Mark does on every front. Last season, models were wearing cheese hats down the runway, which points to another element she always incorporates, food. The carrots and pumpkins scattered throughout the Fall 2022 collection underlined this once again. This time, of course, fits in with the theme of Coven. Before Puppets and Puppets, Mark worked as a contemporary artist, focusing on commercial food packaging.
After graduating from the School of Visual Arts in New York City, she became known for her pieces with Haribo gummy bear wrappers. Mark incorporates reminders from her previous work and mixes it with her downtown, hip art scene background. This creates a connection with her inspirations from pop art and brings out Warholism in her pieces.
The evolution of the brand to wearability
Her move into fashion arises from her willingness to reach a bigger audience. Bridging art and fashion, she can make a more extensive statement than would have been possible otherwise. Affected by this background, Mark approaches Puppets and Puppets in a non-fashion way.
The Fall 2022 collection highlights her practicality in doing so. It can be seen as growing more wearable pieces while holding onto the brand’s quirkiness. It marks the brand’s evolution from an art project to a real thing. Mark had stated that the first-ever Puppets and Puppets show had been a one-off, performance-type event. However, enjoying what she did motivated her to continue, and the brand became a self-reflective instrument of critique.
It was a tongue-in-cheek tool to play around and tell the fashion world that it’s not that deep. The pandemic, however, brought things into perspective, and Mark shifted her focus, leading her to contemplate whether she would wear the pieces she designed. The increased wearability is apparent in pieces like sweaters with sequined logos and the use of plaid, a fall staple.
Creating pieces and having fun in the meantime
The philosophy behind the creative direction of the brand is fun. Mark is a big advocate of having fun with whatever she is doing, and she makes sure to let it be known. The ethos that is bound to stay with the brand is not taking themselves too seriously regardless of the evolution to a more wearable look. One departure that did happen was the color palette, which was much darker than before.
On the theme with the witchy name Coven, the darkness did not bring out anything sinister. It was intended as a much more heartfelt coven, just a theater kid having fun. Like the puppy-print jacquard coat and a silk strapless cobra dress featuring oversized bows, other moments showed the audience that the brand was still very much in touch with its sense of humor.
Coven was a way for Mark to emphasize her power. Her affinity for pagan-feeling things led her to conclude that it was the right time to make this move. Creating a darker, more severe feeling collection sets her intentions for the future yet leaves room for imagination.
Puppets and Puppets RTW FW22
Carly Mark’s vision of the art project-turned emerging label on everyone’s radar is shown through a witchy lens. The Fall 2022 collection is presented as a way of maturing while embracing the brand’s positive ethos.