The New York Runways Were Full of Live Musical Performances This Season
As New York Fashion Week evolves, designers continue to experiment with how they debut new collections each season. Last September, designers took advantage of the city’s most memorable (and Instagrammable) locations to host shows, and this season, another spectacle started to trend on the runway: live music.
Of course, this is nothing new to NYFW, and some brands, such as Chromat and VFiles, are known to regularly feature musical artists within their shows. But as designers start to place more importance on creating social media-worthy moments, this tried-and-true source of entertainment had fallen ever-so-slightly by the wayside over the past few seasons. Regardless, we’re glad that musical performances are back, helping to add another layer of creative musings to fashion shows. Read on to learn more about some of our favorites from the week.
Los Angeles-based C2H4 presented two collections this season, each with distinct sources of inspiration. Titled “The Chemist,” designer Yixi Chen created functional garments in signature silhouettes, including MA-1 bomber jackets, lab-style coats and cargo pants. For “Potential of Ego,” Chen teamed with Japanese label Number (N)ine to produce apparel and accessories with a grunge-meets-rock aesthetic. Fittingly, Jesse Rutherford, The Neighbourhood frontman-turned-solo artist, modeled the final look, followed by a performance of his latest single “Drama” at the end of the runway show.
Menswear label-to-watch Abasi Rosborough’s success stems from designer duo Abdul Abasi and Greg Rosborough’s strong sense of resourcefulness, which applies to their New York Fashion Week debut, too. Abasi brought on his brother and famous guitarist Tosin to perform alongside singer Kelela on the runway.
In lieu of a proper runway show, CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund winner Telfar Clemens opted to showcase his Fall 2018 collection through music. Established and up-and-coming artists — Dev Hynes, Kelela, Bryndon Cook, Ian Isiah and Kelsey Lu, to name a few — styled themselves in Clemens’s rock-inspired designs, then joined forces on a circular stage to perform a special adaptation of “Grateful” by gospel singer Hezekiah Walker.
Cushnie et Ochs
Designers Carly Cushnie and Michelle Ochs celebrated their brand’s tenth anniversary by bringing on Alunageorge to serenade the fashion crowd after the show. Singer Aluna Francis and her soothing vocals paired perfectly with Cushnie et Ochs’ sleek, party-ready dresses and evening gowns.
For Fall 2018, Becca McCharen-Tran’s aquatic-inspired collection for Chromat, titled “Wavvy,” debuted with a club-friendly soundtrack by New York-based producer Shyboi, also known as Yulan Grant. As the models (equipped with Cheetos) did one last lap for their finale walk, self-proclaimed “Slaysian” artist K Rizz also took to the runway for a surprise performance.
Korean-American producer Kathy Yaeji Lee, who goes by the stage name Yaeji, is making waves for her take on house music. At Eckhaus Latta’s Fall 2018 runway show in Bushwick, Brooklyn, Lee performed an original electronic soundtrack live and then closed out the event with a DJ set as showgoers lingered for drinks and snacks.
Kerby Jean-Raymond collaborated with Raphael Saadiq to curate his runway show’s moving, memorable music, performed by an all-Black choir that sang songs by Kendrick Lamar, Gil Scott-Heron, Boris Gardiner, Lalah Hathaway, Bruce Springsteen and Saadiq’s own “Skyy (Can You Feel Me?).”
With VFiles taking over Terminal 5 for fashion week, a concert was a given — the retailer-brand always includes plenty of musical showmanship with its runway shows. The evening began with “Pass the Aux,” featuring appearances by K Rizz, Blakie, Bali Baby, Comethazine and Tracy. After featuring a slew of previous VFiles Runway winners’ looks — shot as a live-action fashion editorial by photographer Christelle de Castro — HQ Trivia host Scott Rogowsky himself took the stage to welcome rapper Smokepurpp for a final performance.