The characters that the fashion designer Zoe Latta invites onto her runway are unfailingly diverse, ranging from fellow artists to striking, silver-haired septuagenarian women and the occasional very pregnant friend. As one half of Eckhaus Latta, the Los Angeles-based label known for its creative, gender-fluid ready-to-wear designs, Latta has a professional practice that slips between conceptual art, high fashion and provocative marketing. Her approach to entertaining is no less fluid.
Since launching the label in 2011 with her co-designer Mike Eckhaus, Latta, 30, has rightfully been touted as an icon of today’s fashion avant-garde. But at her home in central Los Angeles’s Arlington Heights neighborhood, two hours before a dinner party, she is disarmingly dressed-down in a red vintage jumpsuit and a patchwork knit tank of her own design. Latta and her fiancé, the sculptor Riley O’Neill, are hosting a backyard barbecue in honor of the artist Susan Cianciolo, one of Eckhaus Latta’s model-muses and one of Latta’s mentors and frequent collaborators.
This summer, Cianciolo will contribute to Eckhaus Latta’s first solo exhibition, at New York’s Whitney Museum. For the show — part of the museum’s Emerging Artist Program — Eckhaus and Latta have enlisted more than a dozen artist and designer friends to collaborate and reimagine a fully functioning retail experience within the gallery space. Cianciolo will create the dressing-room mirrors, O’Neill will create a sculptural shelf made out of rebar, plaster, resin and glass. The architect Emma Price — Latta’s best friend from childhood and a guest at the dinner party in question — will design the interior layout.
In 2014, Latta relocated from New York to her native California and opened Eckhaus Latta’s Los Angeles studio and retail shop in Arlington Heights. Latta and O’Neill moved into a modest two-bedroom apartment nearby, which they share with their friend Tyler Murphy, the associate director of the Los Angeles outpost of Reena Spaulings Fine Art. The place is decorated with novelty pillows and vintage textiles, handmade pottery and found furniture. Antique prints of plant specimens hang in the breakfast nook, nestled alongside lumpy ceramic masks and personal doodles made by friends.