Yesterday afternoon, Kerby-Jean Raymond made history as the first black American designer to show a couture collection under his Pyer Moss label as a guest designer by the Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode. Unlike the majority of designers whose collections were presented in Paris, the original show was to be held at Villa Lewardo in Irvington, NY on July 8th, but was postponed due to inclement weather brought on by Hurricane Elsa. Invitees including Brother Vellies creative director and founder of the 15 Percent Pledge (opens in new tab) Aurora James, Hanifa designer Anifa Mvuemba, actress Kiki Layne gathered again at the same venue. The location held cultural significance as the estate belonging to Madam C.J. Walker, the first female self-made millionaire in America, as documented by the Guinness Book of World records, earning her fortune as an entrepreneur with a line of Black hair care products.
The show opened with an address to the audience by Elaine Brown, former Black Panther chairwoman, prison activist, writer and singer. Moments later models walked out to a live performance by 22GZ accompanied by a live orchestra. The collection itself, named WAT U IZ, was an ode to Black inventions, made up of 25 fashionable and surrealist interpretations of items ranging from hot rollers to a chess board to a refrigerator whose magnetic letters spelled out "BUT WHO INVENTED BLACK TRAUMA?".
See some of our favorite looks below: