Pyer Moss’s couture show was a lesson in black invention, black joy and black revolution
A Pyer Moss parade always comes with a few guarantees: an extravagant display and celebration of the dark, a soundtrack that will keep your Shazam app running over time, and a black history lesson taught through each. texture, fabric and cut this waltz. Track. But on Thursday July 8, the day Pyer Moss designer Kerby Jean-Raymond was to make history as the first black American designer invited by the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture Collections to make his sewing debut, Raymond and his guests were thrown a massive curve ball.
Guests dotted the lawn of Villa Lewaro, a 20,000 square foot mansion built and inhabited by Madame CJ Walker – one of America’s most famous self-made black millionaires – while waiting for the show to begin, until what a downpour of rain calls for Pyer Moss to shine. Staging a show in the realm of a pioneer figure like Madame CJ Walker, however, was far more than her legacy of black wealth and power. It was a symbol of resilience and strength. History books have taught us that our travels have been marred by obstacles, but in the end, it’s our resilience and determination that turns our challenges into success. Kerby would have thrown in the towel, but he had a Plan B in mind: Party.
The next two hours saw crowds rushing from their seats to a set of tents housed at the back of the estate for shelter, originally intended for the post-show barbecue. “I like that we go through this as a family lmao it’s wild”, Raymond tweeted at one point. And like any strong family unit, the guests refused to give up on the Pyer Moss show and instead occupied their time partying in the tent. “Could it be I’m Falling in Love” sounded through the speakers, causing the electric slide to snap in the middle of the tent, as other people on the outskirts devoured plates of rasta pasta, jerk chicken, baked Mac and cheese and other barbecue staples. The Isley Brothers’ “For the Love of You” was next in the DJ’s rotation.
As the rain subsided enough for guests to return to their seats, former Black Panther president Elaine Brown took the stage to deliver a rousing speech, leading the crowd to believe that a show would finally have. location. Still, an even heavier downpour prompted Raymond to make a difficult decision. “We are postponing our show until Saturday,” read a note the creator posted to his Instagram shortly after, adding that Saturday’s show will also be open to the public.
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As promised, the sequel to the Pyer Moss family reunion took place on Saturday July 10 at the same location. Entitled “Wat U Iz,” Pyer Moss’s first couture show was a stark reminder of black influence in this world. After another speech from Brown, the Flatbush 22Gz rapper appeared all in white with a phalanx of backup dancers to open the show with a rendition of his “Fallen Blixkys” as the first model floated down the royal blue runway.
One after another, everyday essentials made their way onto the catwalk, from a bottle cap worn as a skirt to ice cream cone pants to a horseshoe adorning a dress. It was a buffet for the eyes, until it settled into your mind that there is actually a pattern happening on the runway. School is no longer in session, but your Google search history would be full at last glance. A mannequin dressed in a pot of peanut butter reminded us that George Washington Carver may not have invented peanut butter, but he developed over 300 ways to use peanuts; Aoki Lee (daughter of Kimora Lee Simmons) modeled a brown checkered chess costume, a game that dates back to Africa. Another model emerged in an emerald green curtain dress held up by an actual curtain rod to give flowers to Samuel Scottron, the man best known for inventing the curtain rod.
It all started with a list. After stumbling across a list of black innovators from the Library of Congress, Raymond realized he didn’t know all the blacks who have contributed to our daily lives. “I went through the list like, Damn I didn’t know any of this. I asked the people in my office if they knew the innovators and no one knew. The general concept of the collection is that these are the innovations of the Blacks. I wanted to reintroduce them to blacks. I got the feeling no one was going to figure out that these were inventions, ”Raymond told an intimate group of publishers after the show. “Everyone knows me as the designer of Black Lives Matter, and I am too, but I never really manage to show my sense of humor.”
Elsewhere in the show, there were more black character inventions, like the air conditioning unit attached to a golden yellow robe and a tower of curlers draped around an orange and blue robe – a look that Raymond said , took four months. “We had people sitting there curling all the hair and putting it on each hair roller,” he added. Much like Pyer Moss, the show culminated with a final message using magnets scattered around the fridge that read, “But who invented the dark trauma?” It is reminiscent of the message on the weed tubes that Raymond distributed a few days earlier. “We are tired of waiting for repairs and an apology. Until then… we’re getting into the weed business.
Society was built on blacks’ backs, but our contributions go unnoticed while others benefit from our work. Kerby’s post highlights racial disparities in the history of marijuana, particularly how the growth of the industry comes at the expense of the many blacks incarcerated or punished for possession of marijuana. “We have been disproportionately discriminated against and imprisoned. On top of that, we are not participating in the rise of the industry, ”he told ELLE.com. Raymond therefore already has his solution. The designer’s most recent effort is a collaboration with Viola, one of the largest black-owned cannabis companies, to create a new collection of cannabis products in which he hopes to “benefit communities that have been harmed by the fight against drugs in the past ”. Trauma may have caused obstacles in our past, but Raymond is on a mission to define a new future for black entrepreneurs.
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