In a sunny showroom in Hudson Yards—its view of the Manhattan skyline covered by scaffolding—Michelle Ochs was wearing an oversized gray blazer paired with a white tank top and jeans: think Working Girl if Melanie Griffith was in her 30s and had a job in the city in 2023. “As you see, we’re surrounded by scaffolding,” said Ochs, which today, rather than a nuisance, was the perfect stage for her fall lineup.
“Most of us are back in the office by now, and as I go in every day, I think about the American woman being surrounded by office buildings and construction,” she said of this season’s inspiration. “This woman is dressed in subtle undertones inspired by New York, so what I wanted to do here was rethink the idea of female American power dressing.”
While Ochs is still offering her tried and true evening gowns and dresses, here cut and softly draped in vibrant skyline blue and lavender haze jerseys and stretch viscoses (this was another NYFW collection that featured hooded evening styles, something we’ll surely see more of this season), she turned her eye to wardrobing the daily life of her customer. Separates are a growing category at Et Ochs, and fall saw her successfully explore her range. The lineup included worthwhile additions to her indigo denim offering and the introduction of true wear-to-work tailoring. The latter she cut in boiled wool and viscose suitings; these roomier, structured silhouettes felt fresh in her world; look eight was a particular standout.
To amp up the edge and industrial feel, Ochs decided “to take construction elements,” she said, but not “literal construction” (unlike, say, Heron Preston, who incorporated building-site found objects into his fall lineup), but the idea of bringing the inside of a garment to the outside. This worked best when she exposed seams finished with bias trims, placed technical seam seal tape on the outside of garments, or applied contrast stitching on trousers and jeans to cleverly expose pattern pieces placed on top of each other. Ochs always finds a way of imbuing some edge into her ready-to-wear to make it just distinct enough.
So what is today’s woman wearing to work in a city like New York? Truth is, it’s anyone’s guess, but Et Ochs is a pretty good one.