Our feelings while watching Cushnie et Ochs’s spring 2010 collection walk the runway in person can’t have been unlike those our mom felt when we were 15 and wanted to leave the house in a miniskirt (oh, yes, fights ensued). The dresses were so short, so low cut, it seemed impossible they would conceal every nipple, butt cheek, and crotch that sauntered down the runway. But they did (for the most part — one pair of shorts was intentionally designed to reveal cheek in the back). “It’s all about showing off the female figure in the best way,” Carly Cushnie said after the show. “You’d be surprised at how well certain things can hold their shape.” Carly and her partner, Michelle Ochs, try on samples in the office to make sure they’ll hold everything in. “There was a lot of testing,” Michelle confessed. “We’re aware of our bodies, we’re aware of what is possible with the fabrics, so given a little glitches with stitching and stuff, it works out.” Watching backstage, they feared not a nip slip.
Michelle and Carly say their line is growing slowly but steadily in the downturn. “For us, now, we don’t have to cut back because it’s just Michelle and I pretty much still,” Carly said. Cushnie et Ochs is currently available in Bergdorf Goodman, and they say retailers haven’t asked them to bring prices down. “Our dresses — for what’s in Bergdorf right now — they range from, like, $800 to $2,400, so there’s always something that you can buy.” Just don’t expect a whole lot of fabric.