The Blonds by Lizzie Crocker
The Blonds are known for putting on runway spectacles that are more like costume-y burlesque shows than typical fashion presentations.
You won’t see Anna Wintour at their riotously fun shows, but the transgender celebrity Amanda Lepore is a reliable front-row fixture. Likewise Michael Musto—who wore a red neoprene cape for the occasion this year—and other New York nightlife mainstays.
So when Teyana Taylor, the star of Kanye West’s new ‘Fade’ music video, is one of the first to arrive to the 10th anniversary show wearing a blinged-out gold bomber jacket custom made by the designers, you know The Blonds are having a moment.
Taylor, after all, is having a moment herself. The 25-year-old singer, who is signed to West’s G.O.O.D. record label, became one of the most talked-about names at the VMAs when West’s video premiered during the ceremony.
She also walked (or stood, with difficulty, under the relentless sun) in West’s Yeezy Season 4 show on Roosevelt Island last week. She’s got a new collaboration with Reebok, a role on VH1’s The Breaks, and a forthcoming workout DVD.
And there she was at The Blonds’ show Sunday night with her boyfriend, the NBA star Iman Shumpert of the Cleveland Cavaliers. Nigel Barker, formerly of America’s Next Top Model and current host of The Face, was also front row. Kelly Osbourne and Ireland Baldwin slipped in at the last minute.
In the 10 years since Phillipe and David Blond launched their line, they’ve designed outfits for Nicki Minaj, Lady Gaga, Beyoncé, Miley Cyrus, and Bette Midler—worn primarily in music videos.
There were plenty of signatures that we’ve seen again and again over the years—corsets encrusted with jewels and embroidered with sequins and chainmail; thigh-high boots and other shoes all custom-made by Louboutin; fierce-looking gloves and long fake nails that are works of art themselves—but the collection followed a limited color palette of silver and beige.
For their 10th anniversary collection, The Blonds pared back their outlandish aesthetic ever-so-slightly.
“We wanted to revisit a few of our favorite moments throughout our career but also show a different side, because we’re starting to elevate the line and move it in different directions,” said David Blond, speaking to The Daily Beast after the show. “We want to maintain the business we have now and work with our clients obviously, but to get some new ones too. So I think we really surprised people tonight because we stripped everything away to start the show.”
The starting point for the collection was, appositely, platinum, which manifested in a lot of silver tones and shiny heavy metal on the clothes. There were references to Roman gods and goddesses like Pegasus and Venus (the show’s set featured two giant blow-up horses), but also to Tina Turner in Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (all the models wore giant platinum blond curly wigs). Divas have consistently been muses for The Blonds.
“We wanted to maintain the purity of what we’re trying to say with the clothes and also give people something else to see,” said David. “I think it’s time for us to take things to the next level.”
That means more red carpet dressing, they hope. They’d love to see Zendaya in their designs. Likewise Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara, and Tilda Swinton.
When asked about the increasing attention the fashion industry is paying to designers who produce genderless or gender-ambiguous clothes (Gypsy Sport, Telfar, and Barragan, to name a few), David Blond crowed, “Thank god! Society is finally becoming more adventurous and understanding that people don’t have to live in a box! They can have fun.”
Phillipe added: “I’ve thought about this a lot, and I feel like we were always ahead of it so I’m like, ‘I said this 10 years ago! What the hell!’ But to see it happening so much is very exciting and long overdue.”
Hood by Air by Allison McNearney
It’s not often that a fashion show sponsor is the first thing people notice when they receive their coveted invites. But that was the case with the latest collection by Hood by Air, whose invitation was a mock cover of a book from the cult teen series The Babysitters Club. In small print on the bottom right side, a logo proclaimed “PornHub.”
And, boy, did designer Shayne Oliver’s sexy, gritty, X-rated show lived up to its pornographic sugar daddy.
The jarring sounds of gurgling and slurping lasted for an uncomfortable amount of time before the first model made her debut, and it was a total anarchy of sartorial form from there.
Deconstruction was taken to the extreme, with collared shirts missing backs, having arms but otherwise leaving a model bare-chested, and worn folded up on the chest, as if someone had picked a shirt off of a store’s shelves and just mounted the whole affair to his front. Blazer sleeves were ripped and falling off, zippers led to nowhere, and sleeves were pinned as if slings to the opposite shoulder.
There was plenty of PornHub-worthy antics, including several pieces that prominently featured the porn site’s logo. And nudity was not in short supply. There were bare breasts and male models in only bitty briefs with gorgeous outerwear on top (a long, royal blue coat was particularly exceptional). Several shirts and overcoats proclaimed things like “Hustler” and “Wench,” with the back of a clear blue hooded jacket instructing onlookers to “never trust a church girl.”
Things got even more strange when several models heroically walked out in bright yellow double-toed boots (with the pointed toes point both forward and backward…on each foot), while another pair each dragged a small, stuffed duffel bag behind them by a rope attached to their belt loops.
In a display particularly apt for our times, another model looked totally uninterested in the proceedings as he walked around the rectangular runway scowling and typing away at his phone.
All of this was capped off with some truly outrageous styling. In lieu of hair product and hair styling, models’ heads were covered in Vaseline, with a few of the women going half and half—half-wet, gel’d hair, the other half dry and lightly styled. But it didn’t stop with the hair, Vaseline was smeared down most models faces, with dabs on chins and even fingernails to suggestively skeevy effect.
The show took place only a week after an extensive profile of Oliver appeared in The New Yorker, and the excited buzz spilled over into the space at Skylight at Moynihan Station, where the Hood By Air runway was a popular spot for fashionable stars like Naomi Campbell, Jussie Smollett, will.i.am, Hari Nef, and Whoopi Goldberg. The cameras went particularly crazy as Jaden Smith cozied up to his girlfriend and social media star Sarah Snyder in the front row.
Oliver, who has become something of a fashion darling, has established himself as an original thinker and an experimental force in the fashion community. And with this collection, he did it again. It was a gritty and raw…and will undoubtedly fly off the shelves. Sex sells, after all.
Altuzarra by Lizzie Crocker
Joseph Altuzarra’s spring 2017 collection started with David Lynch’s Wild at Heart. Python prints nodded to the jacket worn by the film’s ex-conman Sailor Ripley (Nicolas Cage), and the hot pinks favored by Laura Dern’s Lula Fortune showed up in a belted cardigan twinset worn with striped ruffled briefs.
But most of the collection riffed on the spirit of the film rather than actual pieces worn by its stars—something Altuzarra has made a habit of doing (previous collections have looked to Rosemary’s Baby, Edward Scissorhands, and the Catherine Deneuve-starring Belle Du Jour).
The designer was “inspired by the carefree and fun-loving attitude” of Cage and Dern’s characters, he wrote in a handout for guests at Wednesday’s show. “I wanted the collection to feel happy, vibrant and erotically charged.”
It was certainly one of Altuzarra’s more saccharine offerings: Cherries were a consistent motif, printed on ruffled dresses, stockings, bralettes, and a python trench.
Lemons and other fruits popped up on everything from a denim-printed python pencil skirt (sequined lemons, in this case) to jeweled bananas, cherries, and watermelons sewn onto kitten heels.
But the mood was more sexy and rebellious than sugary sweet: We saw plenty of Altuzarra’s signature slit pencil skirts paired with ruffled bra tops. The models wore kitsch-y, coiled hoop earrings and wet, slicked back hair.
Altuzarra even managed to make a silk, light blue gingham dress look racy, buttoned down to reveal a peek of a python bra beneath it.
It was everything that the Altuzarra customer loves: beautiful tailoring and slit skirts and dresses, overlaid with the rawness of Lynch’s cult film—enough to make you want to head bang to heavy metal in the desert, à la Lula Fortune.