Pyer Moss creator Kerby Jean-Raymond rocked New York Fashion Week with his latest collection dedicated to African-American heritage, spurred on by a musical tribute to “original soul sister” Rosetta Tharpe.
The American-Haitian designer had a packed-out audience of 3,000 fashionistas in a trance at the Kings Theater in Brooklyn as he concluded his trilogy of collections referencing black culture and history.
More than 60 singers and an electric guitarist, saxophonist and pianist performed hits by black artists ranging from soul to rap as the Pyer Moss label returned to the runway after skipping Fashion Week in February.
The late Sunday show was dedicated to singer Tharpe who lived from 1915 to 1973 and whose mixture of blues and gospel is credited with influencing the early rock-and-roll musicians.
All of the models were black or multiracial, in a celebration of African-American glamour that was in tune with Jean-Raymond’s hugely successful two New York catwalk shows of last year.
The women wore brightly colored, sculpted silks while strong silhouettes, including big shoulders and flared trousers, were a key feature of the menswear.
Jean-Raymond rose to fame at New York Fashion Week in late 2015 when Pyer Moss’s spring 2016 collection took inspiration from the Black Lives Matter movement, which campaigns against racism and violence towards black people, including police brutality.
He is considered one of the best fashion designers of his generation and his designs regularly feature references to African-American culture and the community’s role in the history of the United States.
The 32-year-old said he had wanted to create a black rock aesthetic but warned that his next collection may not be devoted to African-American culture.
“That’s not my thing. I’m not a race guy. I care about people. I’m going to speak to different things that matter to me. I’ve made a show about depression,” he said.
Pyer Moss announced in July that Jean-Raymond would create a whole new fashion line for Reebok as the struggling sportswear manufacturer seeks to revive its brand.
Jean-Raymond remains fiercely independent and says he will never compromise his designs.
“I don’t care about selling clothes,” he told a group of journalists after the show.
“The company could be doing more. We could be making a lot more money… but I refuse to just make anything without a meaning. I’ll figure out a way to make money later,” he added.
Tommy Hilfiger returns –
The second full day of New York Fashion Week also saw the return of Tommy Hilfiger after an almost three-year absence.
Hilfiger’s show at the Apollo Theater in Harlem was straight from a 1970s movie set — everything from the retro cars, to the music and the clothing echoed that decade.
The designer put together a collection that fitted perfectly on his new muse Zendaya, who also participated in the creative process.
There was plenty of grey, leather, polka dots, ruffles wide-brimmed hats and high-belts in a reworking of seventies imagery designed to appeal to young Tommy Hilfiger customers. — AFP