Where food has traditionally been the outcast of all fashion-focused events — and especially something as vapid as a fast-paced fashion week — Puppets and Puppets consistently gives a voice to the voiceless through its whimsical collections.

You might be familiar with the indie NYC brand's delightful Cookie Bag, featuring a resin chocolate chip variation attached to a classic black purse, but this season Puppets and Puppets' Carly Mark shifted her focus to cheese. As a proud midwesterner (born in Detroit, Michigan), she set out to elevate the Green Bay Packers cheesehead, balancing giant blocks or wheels on models' heads and incorporating cheese wedges into the actual wedges of shoes.

Spring 2022 then rolled out like one festive dinner party, with cheese being the appetizer for a playful lineup decorated with tasty surprises. Models were draped in shiny golden tinsel, like the kind Grandma pulls from storage for holiday meals; several looks were printed with teacup patterns, while structured cocktail dresses resembled actual teacups blown to life-size proportions; and this season's it-bag replaced the cookie with a braided brioche roll.

This celebratory undertone, of dressing for a very special get together, came from Marks thinking about life post-lockdown — a theme that was inevitable during NYFW's physical comeback. She pulled inspiration from Alejandro Amenabar's 2001 film, The Others, which examines the psychological impact of being stuck inside, and also considered the energy of the Roaring Twenties after wartime destruction.

Like our tentative return to normalcy, where togetherness has come with risk and, at times, guilt, the Puppets and Puppets look still had a bit of an edge, whether in its styling (by Stella Greenspan) or hair (Blake Erik) and makeup (Akiko Owada). Eyeliner was heavy-handed, with charcoal outlining models' eyes like dark caves, and the hair brought in some rebellious hues, from faded turquoise to orange or jet black, in flapper curls. "We are teetering the line between hauntedness and hopefulness," a press release reads.

Above all, Marks' perspective is always driven by a refreshing sense of humor, which lends itself perfectly to the now unavoidable meme-ification of fashion week. Her looks, while always romantic and beautiful, easily find an immediate home on our newsfeeds. When her cheese heads or cheese heels emerged onto the catwalk, iPhones immediately sprung up; the same goes for a dress with two saucers covering the model's boobs and, on the back, her butt cheeks.

As former Puppets and Puppets model Caroline Polacheck commented under one Spring 2022 look on IG, "le swoooon."

Photography: Carter Tanton

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