THE PYER MOSS SPRING 2019 COLLECTION WAS A POWERFUL CELEBRATION OF BLACK CULTURE
, Loknath Das , Comments Off on THE PYER MOSS SPRING 2019 COLLECTION WAS A POWERFUL CELEBRATION OF BLACK CULTURE
“Hi fashion friends: I hope y’all take a moment to appreciate the gravity of tonight’s @pyermoss presentation,” tweeted Kimberly Drew on the morning of Pyer Moss’s anticipated Spring 2019 runway show. “A black-owned house showing new work at @Weeksville, one of the first free black communities during the 19th century. Iconic.”
Indeed, a rainy Saturday evening didn’t stop the fashion crowd from arriving in droves to Weeksville in Brooklyn’s Crown Heights, founded by African-American James Weeks in 1838 — 11 years after slavery was abolished in New York. Designer Kerby Jean-Raymond welcomed showgoers to the historic village’s heritage center and museum, not too far from his childhood home in East Flatbush. A full gospel choir assembled in front of Weeksville’s four originally restored homes, and as they sang Stevie Wonder’s “Heaven Is 10 Zillion Light Years Away,” the audience’s attention was quickly diverted from the wet benches and scattered umbrellas to Pyer Moss’s latest collection, “American, Also. Lesson 2.”
This year, Jean-Raymond celebrates a few milestones, including his label’s fifth anniversary — and about the one-year point since the designer took on full ownership of and a new creative approach to the brand. The momentous occasion shined through in his Spring 2019 offerings as he leaned into more evening-ready garments, like floor-sweeping silk gowns, pleated handkerchief-hem skirts and high-neck, bell-sleeve silhouettes.
Jean-Raymond’s designs are always rooted in activism, as well, aiming to thread — and also, rewrite — the African-American experience into his collections. “See us now?” is stitched across a male model’s cummerbund and “Stop calling 911 on the culture” is embroidered on the front of a blouse paired with a blood-red quilted skirt, noting the recent racist atrocities of white individuals who have called the police on Black people simply going about their normal, everyday lives.