At this time, the gods of heaven were smiling at Kerby Jean-Raymond and his label, Pyer Moss. It was the same with the gods of fashion.
Two days after heavy rains and lightning sent tourists fleeing forcing forced Jean-Raymond to postpone the launch of his long-awaited collection, the sun came out on Saturday and the crowds returned. They were honored with a spectacular display, showing off the blurring anger between fashion and art as they honored the ingenuity of Black founders who were often overlooked in history.
And then, there was a coat of peanut butter – literally, a big, soft pot carved of these things. There was a surprisingly amazing roller cape – what it looked like, hot rollers from head to toe. There was an ice cream cone with lumps of lumps. There was an air conditioner, an old cell phone, a mop in the kitchen.
There was a lighted lamp in the past, with beaded edges. There was a chessboard, a white folding chair, and a bottlecap – each costume was a complex carpentry task. There was also a refrigerator with magnetic strips of colored letters that read: “But who started the black supremacy?”
Also present were dancers, a rap artist, a stringed section, and a history lesson from Elaine Brown – an activist, author, and former leader of the Black Panther Party.
Jean-Raymond, whose exhibitions regularly incorporate his views on fashion and cultural, racial, and social issues, said in a speech after the show that he aimed to “highlight black artifacts and show them off in a unique way,” including 3D construction and sculpture.
All of Pyer Moss’s shows attracted a lot of interest, but the show had a lot of buzzes because Jean-Raymond was the first black American designer invited by the French Chamber Syndicale to showcase the collection during Paris Couture Week –
The situation was particularly significant: Villa Lewaro, the first-century mansion in Irvington, NY, about 30 miles [48 km] from New York City built by Madam CJ Walker, the daughter of enslaved parents who shared magnate hair care and made a millionaire.
“Madam CJ Walker’s fortune was more than money,” Jean-Raymond wrote in the exhibition notes. “Black prosperity begins mentally, emotionally, and socially. He knew that no dollar value could ever satisfy the price of freedom – that green paper and copper coins would not heal souls, heal hearts or correct the evil we endured. ”
The shuttle buses transported guests from Manhattan and Brooklyn, and the re-arranged show on Saturday included a group from the community, which added to the excitement in the air.
It began with a speech by Brown, who gave a history lesson on the types of the black struggle for justice in America and asked the crowd, “Where are we from? Where does the liberation movement come from? He urged the crowd to look into the past and to “return to the train of freedom.”
Then there are dancers – men dressed in white, who slowly take off their coats and wear shirts as they go with the 22Gz rapper playing some numbers, including the “Sniper Gang Freestyle” and the “King of NY,” while the beauties walk the roundabout.
Jean-Raymond said he and his team had gone through a rigorous and completed process to meet couture collection requirements.
“We’ve done rounds and building methods,” he said. “We started with a completely different concept. After that, the group went out to Joshua Tree and performed ayahuasca together. Then we come back with the idea.
“So it wasn’t just couture in the traditional sense where the clothes were sewn,” he said. “There was the heat that was also affected by the formation of fiberglass. We also made shoes for ourselves. ”
The haircut alone, he said, took months because “it was just people sitting there and wrapping real lumps on the hair rollers. You know, the capped bottle took two months. Every time we did something, we would sit back and think, ‘How can we do better?’ And every time work becomes too difficult. ”
Jean-Raymond is relieved to be no longer fighting the unusual weather again on Saturday.
“It’s been a very long process to get this where we are right now,” he said. “But I’m very happy with the results and that the audience gave us a second chance, after which the rain on Thursday almost wiped us out.”
Associated Press video reporter Ted Shaffrey contributed to the report.