By Paris Diagbonya
On September 4th, the second bi–annual NYFW began, and, no doubt, it has been one of the loudest yet! With stunning colours mixed in with political statements, high profile participants and innovative venues, this week certainly had it all, and we’re here to appraise the highlights.
Where else to start, but with Kerby Jean-Raymond of Pyer Moss? His collection, displayed in Brooklyn’s Kings Theatre, was not only impressive in its expression of colour and reference, but also important in what it represents. His collection, which he refers to as an “art project,” features designs that are influenced by African-American and African culture. This included Missy Elliot–inspired cropped bomber jackets paired over stylised tracksuits, 70’s and 80’s glamourous colour-block pieces and references to musician Sister Rosetta Tharpe, with guitar shapes seen on blazer lapels. His work was exhibited on an all-black cast of models and, although this decision was poignant, the aim behind this collection is deeper than having black models represented in high fashion. The point of his show was to shed light on the stories of African American lives and their creative influencers, who have been erased in the past. Jean-Raymond sought to take steps to rectify this erasure through his designs, which were served on the lively framework of a choral group named the Tabernacle Drip Choir. They performed an expert amalgamation of trap, opera, rap, soul and R&B, which proved an effective medium to perpetuate this movement.
NYFW did not shy from its political statements this season and Prabal Gurung was definitely pivotal in this sentiment. The Nepalese-American celebrated the 10-year anniversary of his brand by channelling his activism into his line, entitled “Who gets to be American?”. He was inspired to design this collection when he was told that he did not look American, in efforts to redefine what people consider to be American. He executed this theme boldly, his collection consisting of predominately red, white and blue ensembles, finished off with a pageant-like sash reading “Who gets to be American?”. Although it is in no way subtle, given America’s current political climate, daring activism and expression is appreciated and indeed makes this one of the most memorable walks of the week.
Next, we have the highly anticipated last leg of the collaboration between Tommy Hilfiger and “Euphoria” star Zendaya. The event was situated in the Apollo Theatre in Harlem, in the format of a 70’s inspired block party. The presentation surrounding this line was among the most energetic and joyous, with brass instruments played by a live band, retro convertibles and models dancing down the runway. The line consisted of statement trench coats, snake prints, plenty of leather, wide brimmed hats and accents of a warm plum colour throughout many of the looks. Zendaya herself was clothed head to toe in a leather snake–print pantsuit, complete with fitted blazer and high-waisted trousers. This “see now, buy now” collection was shown on a notably diverse selection of models, including transgender and plus–sized models. The line is geared toward millennials and demonstrates a fashion aesthetic many of us may relate to, especially in the upcoming fall season.
Tory Burch channelled the fashion icon Princess Diana, using her powerful image and aesthetics to produce a regal but impactful fashion line. Held in the middle of the week in the Brooklyn Museum, Burch showcased her diverse range of designs. She flirted with endless types of fabric, from leather to chiffon to tweed, which resulted in the formation of bold looks reminiscent of those Princess Diana was known to experiment with. Tory Burch elevated Princess Diana’s experimental spirit with unique details, such as the use of ropes and chains on the designs. This line no doubt embodied the empowering essence of a strong woman, a sentiment that is typically a focal point of her work.
Held in an abandoned subway platform in the Lower East Side of New York, Tom Ford hands down had the most innovative backdrop for his 2020 Spring fashion line. High profile models such as Gigi Hadid and Lineisy Montero modelled this underground collection, making it one of the more popular shows among celebrity audiences. His looks featured many contrasts between colour which ranged from pale blush shades to hot pinks, neon greens and galactic shades of purple. The contrasts didn’t end there. His use of flowy satin garments, paired with moulded tops made from glossy plastic materials, added further statement and generated a significant amount of public interest.
Its undeniable that there were many noteworthy shows this New York Fashion Week, with multiple scopes of diversity and artistic brilliance to be seen from all angles of the runway. Now that you’re caught up, keep a lookout for London Fashion Week!