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TANNER FLETCHER's Beauty Pageant

Patrick Michael Hughes Senior Fashion Editor Men's Fashion Writer

Photographs by by Selwyn Tungol

TANNER FLETCHER's Beauty Pageant Spring 2024

NEW YORK: The Brooklyn based fashion label TANNER FLETCHER founded by Tanner Richie and Fletcher Kasell presented their first ever fashion runway show at New York Fashion Week. 'Beauty Pageant' was a modern take on the concept of a beauty pageant, celebrating expressive forms of diversity and inclusivity an authentic realm for the designers.

Beauty Pageant Spring 2024 in a lager context has a lens sharply focused on a larger cultural shift of reclaiming iconography with a new narrative. TANNER FLETCHER Spring 2024 collection was presented in partnership with the Miss Universe Organization. Beauty pageants have taken their fair share of eye rolling and jabbing in recent decades but pageant brands still endure. They continually turn the corner as culture and generational shifts advance forward. Currently, the new CEO the Miss Universe Organization is Amy Emmerich who was appointed in 2022. She has an impressive resume and background in fashion and is a believer that 'feminism should not erase femininity'. Re-framing the beauty icon discussion is reminiscent of the this summer's billion dollar blockbuster 'Barbie' directed by Greta Gewig a dark humor and poignant reflection outside of life outside of the dream house. A new digital fashion generation has swiped past the limited conversations involving pretty dolls and basic and presumptuous declarations about beauty, intelligence and identities.

TANNER FLETCHER's re-framing of nostalgia further opening the discussion around dismissed or even taboo iconography successfully open the door to a new way of seeing a format that has constantly re-invented its self since its conception in 1839. The Spring 2024 collection was a joyous celebration of authenticity. “We are thrilled to have partnered with the Miss Universe Organization on a Beauty pageant of our very own,” stated Fletcher Kasell. “It’s wonderful to open up the world of Tanner Fletcher to other organizations who share a similar, uplifting and empowering vision. We are aligned on the belief that all people no matter the societal boxes they have been put into deserve to act as their authentic selves and be celebrated for it.”

The Spring 2024 collection highlighted a robust thirty looks, with numerous items easily assimilated into an occasion driven wardrobe. The sensibilities of the textiles in the collection drew form the designer's love of Victorian revival styles. There were restrained bouquet motifs in midi length skirted suits with a oversize silhouette to a fitted floor length column gown and a tailored modern cabana- set look which evoked current street fashion style. The textile recalled the once thriving emigrant silk weaving enclave of Spitalfield in London.

TANNER FLETCHER's Beauty Pageant Spring 2024

TANNER FLETCHER also featured lace in romantic and cheeky ways. It was fashioned in a demure full length white gown with puffed sleeves and a key hole neckline to trim on silk charmeuse garter belts worn with and attached to pinstripe suits and tailored trousers. The designers stated that its a versatile lingerie piece finished with ruffles and elastic straps destined to elevate any ensemble.

Three dimensional motifs recalling late nineteen century vocabulary of the House of Worth and the society gowns of influential American designer Ann Lowe who's iconic work is currently having a long overdue renaissance of recognition at Winterthur Museum. Captivating and whimsical vines of flora adorned suits and dress in the collection re-framing the motif for modern occasion dressing fresh feminine outlooks for the brides and the grooms.

A men's fashion moment worth noting is the collarless jacket and suit. The silhouette has been popping up in men's collections in New York as a punctuation note in a fluid and gender-less collections. TANNER FLETCHER's take was a striking monochromatic floral highlighting a unique unfinished trim, The pattern recalled the lush nature of design and art polymath John Ruskin and textile artist William Morris. Yes! the look is 'Chanel like' but why not? Far more influential fashion voices have been saying subtly and not so subtly for a number of seasons nothing much is going on in that house. Its fair game, much like it was in 1972 when the founder died and the brand entered a holding pattern until 1983. This collection's version was dashing and evoked a modern supersonic destination occasion chic worthy of someone who identifies as Peggy Guggenheim or destined to be captured in social diary, art biennale photography.

TANNER FLETCHER's Beauty Pageant Spring 2024

Further fusing TANNER FLETCHER's love of vintage inspiration and signature modern twists, was a well curated redefinition of elegance. Power dressing details is on the rise which means get dressed up. The late nineteen seventies and nineteen eighties made a significant presence on the runway. Beyond the brands signature tuxedo tailoring of significant lapels in contrasting color and texture was the presence of bows, puffed sleeves and ruffled collars. Sue- Ellen Ewing, Nancy Reagan and Lady Diana Spencer might have coveted these designer's crisp. playful and poetic renditions in sheer black and luminous white fabrication. .

TANNER FLETCHER is particularly proud of a new signature embellishment featuring unfinished ruffles. It was seen in a "strapless ballgown and tailored suit, ideal for weddings and red carpets" The concept arose while experimenting with scrap silk and leftover lace ribbon. The steps to completion include "sewing multiple skinny strips of leftover ivory toned silk, lace, and trims in channels along the base material and finishing the piece off by placing and hand sewing miniature bows, the ruffles add a signature playfulness for which the brand has become known."

The standout strapless gown look was worn by 2022 Miss Universe R’Bonney Nola an American fashion designer from North Texas who closed the show.

“This collection truly came from our hearts. This is a year we will never forget,” says Tanner Richie, Co-Founder and Co- Creative Director of Tanner Fletcher. “It feels like just yesterday that we were at our SS23 ‘Spring Fling’ and now we've presented our first runway show, are finalists in the CFDA / Vogue Fashion Fund have put on our very own Beauty Pageant, the Tanner Fletcher way. We are so grateful for our supporters and are so lucky to be forming a community full of the most beautiful characters who inspire us and allow us to do our thing.”

A Gen Z attendee in the audience gushed after the collection she stated 'it was so beautiful... I was star struck' the runway featured a number of social media influencers and Miss Universe. The casting in this show was a bit of a who's is who in the digital fashion. These are voices who frankly state this is what is happening and hip... "TANNER FLETCHER is a 2023 CFDA / Vogue Fashion Fund Finalist and this was the third showing at New York Fashion Week. The brand was launched in 2020. Tanner Richie and Fletcher Kasell have also looked to the decorative arts and how one would arrange and decorate a home, re-imagining a world in which acceptance is paramount.

This was a stellar Spring 2024 collection and important season for the brand. This runway debut was yet another opportunity for the world to learn about TANNER FLETCHER who are interested in uplifting underrepresented groups encouraging everyone to dress and live as they please.

Tanner Richie and Fletcher Kasell


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