For the past few seasons, the designer Willy Chavarria’s shows have been lavish and opulent displays of his brand codes: over-the-top originality with deep emotion, dynamic casting of real people who serve as his muses, and plays on proportion galore. And then there are his venues—churches, old-school barber shops, classic New York City monuments. So when guests arrived at the fall 2024 show on February 9 in Williamsburg, Brooklyn and saw the bare, industrial warehouse with a long table covered in candles, the message was instantly clear—time to put an even finer focus on the big, statement-making clothing.
The collection opened with a short film directed by Chavarria, which showed his models and muses wearing the clothing before the real runway show even started. Dubbed “Safe From Harm,” the collection tells a story about collectively keeping each other secure. “Ultimately, the collection is about love and protection,” Charavia said on a Zoom call the day before the show. “That’s really the base storyline. In the period of time when I designed this collection, there have been global atrocities and so much happening in the world. I wanted to be very conscious of the way people are feeling right now.” The result? Familiar, warm kinds of patterns, tweed, herringbone, and glen plaids—all of which fall under the category of comfort. Tough leathers provided the punchy contrast that Chavarria delivers season after season. As usual, the casting offered one of the most (if not the most) diverse displays of all of NYFW.
Big sleeves, big pants, big hair, and giant silhouettes were everywhere. The collection was filled with classic Chavarria references as well as some new ones: old Claude Montana, 1930s and 1940s Mexican tailoring, 1980s Chanel and a lot of 1980s tweeds and British patterns. The clothing also played with gender more than ever, and marked the launch of Chavarria’s first-ever handbag designs.
“Every collection is very much an evolution of the last one,” the designer said. What was entirely new? “There’s a lot more body snatched to the waist,” he added. The brand is also newly doing wholesale on a global scale, which means “more democratic fits that reach beyond just my immediate fan base.” The superwide-leg, high-waist trousers the New York fashion crowd has come to know and love were still there, but there was also the addition of newer, slimmer fits. “There’s a suit that I’m doing that I love,” Chavarria said. “It’s a bit lower-slung on the hip with a straight leg, a very straight shoulder, and a contoured waist. It works well on both male and female.”
In many ways, fall 2024 lifted the veil on the designer himself, providing an biographical feel, especially when it came to the short film, which depicted two same-sex couples coming to terms with their identities. Plus, the show venue itself was downstairs from the designer’s atelier. “It feels very, very New York to me to bring people into the space that I go to every day,” Chavarria said. “After coming off of so many other opulent settings like churches and the Smithsonian and Prince George Ballroom, this season I wanted to do something stark—where we just see the clothes tell the story.”