An accidental trail of pink frills led the way to LoveShackFancy’s presentation in the Plaza Hotel. While looking for the correct entrance, guidance appeared in the form of a woman stepping out of her yellow cab wearing a pale pink halter top with chiffon tendrils leading down to her ankles. The building’s most famous resident, six-year-old Eloise, would have been pleased.
The presentation was packed with red, white, and pink roses (fitting for Valentine’s Day), balloons, and hordes of the label’s fans, influencers, and editors. You could hardly move in the gallery for people taking photos and videos of themselves and the models arranged around the room. That made perfect sense. LoveShackFancy, in case you haven’t heard, is a phenomenon.
The brand was founded by Rebecca Hessel Cohen in 2013, and it found massive popularity over the pandemic, especially among Gen-Z customers. Cohen launched with just three dress styles—the Love, the Shack, and the Fancy—and since then has partnered with American Girl Doll, Target, and Goop to name a few. She has opened 12 new stores since 2020, all profitable, according to the brand. Cohen has created a world of unabashed pink ruffles, bows, and frills for her customers to dive into, whether they’re an aspiring sorority girl at an SEC school (#BamaRush was big for the brand) or a professional fashionista taking on New York. “Our quintessential girl is the younger girl, but we have women of all ages,” Cohen said the day before the presentation. “This is the ultimate cult designer for her. We’re growing with her. She discovered us through her mom’s closet, then bought all her mini skirts and dresses in the summer.”
LoveShackFancy has faced criticism for its lack of diversity in its marketing going back to 2020, which the brand addressed in an Instagram post at the time. Cohen said before the presentation that the label has “made such strides,” and pointed to its joining the 15% Pledge as an example.
Fittingly perhaps, the fall 2023 collection’s overarching theme was evolution. “Our girl is growing up,” Cohen said. “She’s traveled the world, she’s the last one on the dance floor. She’s this sweet girl who has a bit of an edge now. Before she was innocent, now she’s evolved. She wants to mix in that edge for fall. She’s carefree, she’s spontaneous, she’s loved and lived and is evolving into that.”
Cohen cited her own time studying in London as inspiration, which felt appropriate as many of the young women who discovered LoveShackFancy a few years ago are perhaps now considering a semester abroad. What did this newfound maturity look like? It included a more robust offering of pants, for one. There were also double breasted blazers with flared hems, coats with pink cuffs peeking through, and “edgy” details like gunmetal crystals, raw edges galore, and leather jackets. “Imperfect perfection” is what Cohen said she aims for. LoveShackFancy’s aesthetic has an Instagrammable, non-spinster Miss Havisham quality to it that’s appealing and breaks up the preppiness (Cohen called it “shipwrecked”). The bespoke offering of a white bridal outfit made from upcycled tablecloths and lace captured this best. But sometimes it went a bit too far: the ever-present raw edges made some of the ensembles look unfinished or unraveling. The sequins, high-low skirts, and mini dresses paired with sky-high platforms—while on-brand—didn’t always succeed in creating the effect of a well-traveled woman. Still, tweens and gray-haired women alike snapped pictures of the models.