During Milan Fashion Week last week, Lachlan Watson, who currently stars in the Netflix series Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, attended Etro’s spring 2021 presentation. Navigating a fashion show during the era of COVID-19 proved to be a new experience for the star, who is already a Paris Fashion Week regular, and Watson documented the exciting day for Vogue. Below, the 19-year-old also discussed what power fashion can hold in today’s political and social climate, while sharing how their queer journey continues to influence and shape their personal style.
I have been to Fashion Week many times—when it was not during a global pandemic. I’ve done Paris Fashion Week three times now, and it’s been so fun going to all the different shows and seeing all the different ways that people play with fashion. Fashion is really stepping up to the plate and bringing so much of what we need to see right now. It’s beautiful escapism.
What’s exciting about fashion to me right now is what’s excited me about fashion forever: I’ve always seen fashion as the one time that I can really just be myself. I put myself in a box with gender for a lot of my life. When I was younger, I was really confused, and I wore a lot of normal stuff. I was trying to figure myself out and didn’t want anything to distract me from my “normalcy.” When I came out as transgender in high school, I didn’t let myself wear the color pink for two years, and I wore shoes that were three sizes too big, because I didn’t want people to look at my tiny baby woman feet. I limited the fashion that was within reach for me. The older I get, and the more I come to terms with being nonbinary and being free in my body, the more I go back to the way I dressed when I was nine—which is like my rainbow bob wig, my superhero pants, and a hot pink silk shirt I stole from my sister.
When I was younger, I also had this black, silver, and white striped shirt that was vintage—it might have been my mom’s—that I loved wearing. But I got uncomfortable as I was going through puberty, [because] the stripes were no longer flat. It really bugged me that you could see my curves, and people just looked at me differently when the curves weren’t straight. After I got top surgery when I was 16, and when I came out as nonbinary, I remember my mom coming downstairs and seeing me crying in the bathroom mirror. She realized that I was wearing that striped shirt, and I was crying because the lines were straight. I remember feeling so myself.
[My suit for Etro] was our first real menswear moment for a fashion show. I’ve done menswear-adjacent, but this is my first clean, tailored suit. I felt very powerful. A little power reclamation isn’t a bad thing right now. With the way that the world is—the state of the American election and all the things that are just completely out of our control—there’s something powerful about a suit that really just makes you feel like you’re in control of how you walk and how you’re perceived.
We found this beautiful silver and emerald green rhinestone belt to go with it and buckled kitten-heel boots. My glam team also did silver nails with rhinestones on them and a sparkly silver eyeliner with Swarovski crystals, which made it very hard to blink. Cyndi Lauper and Harry Styles had a love child, and out came me.
I thought the show was superb. There was a purpose to it that I think had been lost in the frenzy of fashion shows. It felt cleaner and more precise—the way that guests were brought in, the way the seats were positioned, the way people offered you their elbows to introduce themselves. I realized halfway through that this was probably the most people I’ve seen in one room at the same time in about six months. Etro gave us all these paisley masks, so we all looked very coordinated. There were girls in raincoats, and there were these guys in ponchos and velvet pants. You could just bring whatever you had to the table. This is probably the only show I’ll get to see this season, and it felt really joyful. I was speaking to the designer, Veronica [Etro], and she mentioned how we all need a little bit of joy right now. And you could feel that with the bright colors and bold prints. It felt like the vacation that none of us got to have.