Cushnie and Ochs Like Tushies and Frocks

They seem to have mutually arrived at an industrial, assembly-line vibe: “looking at the idea of mass-producing the supreme being, and what she would look like today,” explained Ms. Cushnie. And as with the debut collection, they’re obsessed with the perfect color of nude, or “the idea of being naked without being naked,” as Ms. Ochs put it.

“They’re both very sexy,” said shoe designer Alejandro Ingelmo, who is providing industrial-grade footwear for the show. “What they design is who they are. … They’re not, like, all over the place.”

Indeed, as fashion increasingly leaps into bed with reality television and markets itself to the middlebrow, Ms. Cushnie and Ms. Ochs are determined to keep things high end. “People take fashion and think it’s easy,” Ms. Cushnie said.

Project Runway hasn’t helped. It really hasn’t,” said Ms. Ochs.

“And with all the celebrity lines, it’s like the new ‘It’ job to have,” said Ms. Cushnie.

They both insisted that despite being the most photogenic female designers to emerge in years, they plan to avoid television cameras at all costs, preferring instead to be land their wares in iconic boutiques like Kirna Zabete, Jeffrey and Browns in London.

“Something English,” Ms. Ochs said dramatically. “I think our woman is a little more ‘over there,’” she added, meaning Europe, “because everyone saw us and was like, ‘Oh, are you selling to Russia?’ I’m like, ‘We’re trying!’”

Though the duo’s bandage dresses, American Psycho references and pneumatic models have undertones of an early-’90s revival, Martin Price, a former Parsons professor of the duo, praised their innovation. “They’re living in the 21st century,” he said. “A lot of young people live in the ’60s, or the ’40s, but it’s important to tap into he fact that it’s 2009.” He called their bare, accessories-free aesthetic “an extremely streamlined sense of the way women want to dress.”

And: “They are their best advertisement,” he said.

While the women always wear their own designs when they venture out, they’ve been too busy lately to do much of that.

“Going out is a luxury now,” Ms. Ochs said, recalling undergraduate days of foie gras burgers at DB Bistro.

“I don’t think there’s that many great places to go out anymore,” Ms. Cushnie said, remembering a night they got into PM after a particularly stressful day of classes, Ms. Ochs wearing Uggs and carrying pattern paper. “As soon as he let me in, I said, ‘Shame on you,’” she said.

Nowadays, they prefer the relatively subdued scenes at SubMercer or the private club Norwood. Or better yet, carnivorous mecca Shorty’s .32 in Soho, which “has the best short ribs,” said Ms. Cushnie.

“We go there when we’re dying,” Ms. Ochs said. “We don’t need menus, they put it right in,” said Ms. Ochs. “Because they know. Two short ribs, string beans on the side, mashed potatoes.”

“We don’t talk to each other,” said Ms. Cushnie. And they howled with laughter.

mbryan@observer.com