Vaquera is an independent fashion label that takes an exploratory approach to design. Their motifs include dissecting femme/queer presentation, late capitalism, and pop culture with literal absurdism, like their Tiffany pouch dress, which drew a lot of buzz during last season’s Fashion Week. Naturally, Vaquera was the perfect choice to partner with Hulu and Vogue for a collection inspired by The Handmaid’s Tale.
The full collection features a host of Handmaids -esque details, from white bonnets to cult-like gowns. The show’s patriarchal nightmare is given historical context in the form of old-fashioned ruffles and a Suffragette’s dress, complete with a white apron demanding votes for women.
Speaking with Refinery29 in April, Vaquera mentioned that “we aim to reverse cultural norms, celebrate individuality, and empower oppressed individuals,” which are themes woven into their clothes and Margaret Atwood’s haunting story.
Almost all of the looks feature red, the color worn by the Handmaids. It’s a color of power, sexuality, and blood, and costume designer Ann Crabtree told the Hollywood Reporter when finding the perfect red hue, “…we also wanted it to look like liquid blood. We knew there would be huge scenes and we wanted it to be visually important en masse.”
On the runway, Vaquera’s use of the color red highlighted some of the more surreal aspects of their designs, like a red damask gown with pillow cushions sewn to the front. And one of the most ingenious commentaries on women’s gender presentation came in the form of a white gown with bras strewn about, ending in a bra-shaped purse.
Their partnership with Hulu proves that Vaquera is succeeding without losing the creative streak that makes them so original.