The Harlem Renaissance was in full swing last night (October 15) with uptown Manhattan's fashion crowd coming out to pay homage to legendary designer Stephen Burrows while supporting the new crop of Harlem's young talent.
Burrows--the first African-American designer to win international acclaim with his designs garbing fashion-forward icons like Cher, Iman and Diana Ross--looked on at the Harlem Gatehouse as the show featured three emerging designers presenting their Spring 2010 collections.
"[The show] was great," Burrows told VIBE afterward. "I wish it moved a little faster--it would have had more impact that way. Overall it was great."
Of the three young designers--which included Project Runway alumnus Epperson--it was Dinna Soliman's collection, which featured an emphasis on seersucker fabric and cargo pockets, that stood out for its construction.
The other collections take a decidedly deconstructed route. Jose Duran presented menswear on paint-and-flour-splattered models that appeared to be made from shredded bedding (one model was actually fitted in a cape that got caught on my shoe from the front row).
Epperson's collection was similar in scope, with reconstituted garments like oxford shirts that had been frayed and fragmented, then sewn back into a Frankenstein mutation. Epperson must have thought these details were of extreme intrigue as he sent only one model to walk with an astonishingly slow gait the length of two runways at a time.
At the end of the show, a short video montage was shown in celebration of Stephen, who received a standing ovation. The designer, who looks to Pat Cleveland, Elsa Peretti and Diana Ross as fashion icons, spoke to VIBE afterward about fashion's evolution--or devolution.
"It's more about making money than being creative I find," he said, with a hint of jadedness. "It's sad but that's the way it is. It's like there's no fashion anymore, it's all about everyone following a trend, and it's really bad."
Still, Burrows passed some fashion jewels to the next in line.
"Learn your craft and learn something about the business you're in," Burrows advised. "You can't always be creative, you gotta mix selling things with being creative if you can. It's hard to do today. Finding backing--you're doing two things at once, it takes a lot of money. That would be my advice to anyone trying to get into this business." --Adrien Field