Inside Pyer Moss, Fashion Week’s Most Anticipated Show – Vanity Fair

By on September 10, 2019

There was no shortcut to getting into Sunday night’s Pyer Moss show. Right door, left door, the line stretched around the block either way. Some version of “And this is the line if you do have a ticket?” was the common refrain. Honking cars asked attendees rushing over what the commotion was about. The Kings Theatre in Flatbush, Brooklyn, has hosted many high-profile concerts and events since its reopening in 2015, but this was something different.

What do you do if you’re the most closely watched designer who’s expected to show at Fashion Week? If you’re Pyer Moss creative director Kerby Jean-Raymond last season, you decline. In November he was awarded the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund, which only codified a stardom that was already clear. His collaboration with Reebok had taken off. He was thinking ahead: Later, in May, he would tell British Vogue that he wanted to create a fashion holding company along the lines of LVMH. But in February he took Fashion Week off. “I have something to say,” he told the New York Times at the time, “but I am not quite ready to say it.”

If there was any sense that that decision might have been a momentum-slower, it would’ve been hard to maintain by the time the show began a bit after 10:30 p.m. The 3,000-capacity venue was packed and buzzing. “Breathe” by Fabolous, all-time ringtone fodder, blared from the sound system shortly before curtains. Last week Jean-Raymond was named to the CFDA board by its newly installed chairman, Tom Ford. If anything, last season’s holdup heightened the anticipation.

Pyer Moss show

When the show did start, it was in no rush. Before any looks were shown, the singer Brent Faiyaz opened over a solo piano, and the entrepreneur and author Casey Gerald announced the purpose of the event: “We’ve come here tonight to say we ain’t gonna grieve no more.” The show was meticulously staged and paced, and while Pyer Moss has used a live gospel choir for its shows’ music before, the set list remained noteworthy. Backed by an eight-piece band, it traced a history of black American music through the years. “‘American, Also’ is a three-part collection by Pyer Moss created to uncover stories of black peoples’ contribution to popular American culture,” read a pamphlet distributed to guests. “We tell stories of the erased; we used fashion, film, music, and fine art to reverse that erasure.”

So a triumphant rendition of “Proud Mary” filled the cavernous space. Maybe the standout moment was the transition from Megan Thee Stallion’s “Big Ole Freak” to Cardi B’s “Money.” The crowd seemed to fall silent for a moment as the stark opening piano chords of the latter began—will they or won’t they do this one? The room erupted when they indeed did. The wistful hook of Frank Ocean’s “Self Control” was sung as Caleb McLaughlin walked. “Crush on You” by Lil’ Kim was another crowd favorite.

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