By Linda Nuamah
‘I am strong, I am invincible, I am woman.’ This beautiful written lyrics by Helen Reddy in the 70’s is a song for female empowerment, but not the kind that makes you feel like you have to disguise your womanhood to be noticed in this male dominated world that we live in. I am woman, is the song that plays in my mind when I see the collection of Cushnie et Ochs.
Cushnie et Ochs is an emerging designer label, founded in 2008 by Carly Cushnie and Michelle Ochs. Carly was born and raised in London, and Michelle born in Calgary, Canada and raised in Maryland, US. They both attended Parsons, The New School for Design, in New York and quickly became friends. After successful internships at Donna Karan, Proenza Schouler, Marc Jacobs, Isaac Mizrahi, and Oscar de la Renta, they attracted public attention when their senior collection was covered in Women’s Wear Daily. Cushnie et Ochs won the Ecco Domani Fashion Foundation award in 2009, and was named finalist in the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund. The Cushnie et Ochs label is based in New York.
Since the label started, various celebrities such as Jessica Alba, Reese Witherspoon, Karlie Kloss and many others have been seen wearing Cushnie et Ochs. The best surprise came when the first lady of the US, Michelle Obama, who is known for supporting emerging fashion designers (Jason Wu designed her inaugural gown in 2009, and Doo-Ri Chung adapted her catwalk dress to fit the First Lady’s need for a state dinner dress in 2011), wore a custom-made silk-crepe Cushnie et Ochs dress in 2011. Since then it has opened doors to prominent retailers, who found the young label too risky at first.
The Cushnie et Ochs collection is made of sexy classic silhouettes with modern details and timeless elegance. It’s made to shape and sculpt the female form. With strategically placed sharp cuts, these clothes are not made to be worn without confidence. It’s made to feel sexy and elegant, and own that you are a woman. What makes the label so successful, season after season, is that Carly Cushnie and Michelle Ochs have themselves in mind when designing a collection; they design collections that they would love to wear. With this in mind, it’s just a matter of time before the public catches up.
One thing is for sure; my wish for this Christmas is the Cushnie et Ochs dress that even supermodel, Karlie Kloss, can’t stop wearing.