Photo & Video: Akiko Ichikawa
In general the most exciting designers at this February’s New York Fashion Week have collectively recognized the ultimate redundancy of a runway show in a digital reality where most of the looks can be more easily consumed on style.com than by waiting for a show to start. Consequently, designers like Telfar are using the occasion of a their show to concoct something larger.
In Telfar’s case, the theatrical aspect of his show culminated in a much deserved musical celebration. The models in the runway show were replaced by musicians and performers as the show doubled as a concert featuring singing (and de facto modeling) by Dev Hynes and Kelela among many others.
It was already true that a musician who wears Telfar is a cool musician; there’s no venn diagram there, it’s just one circle. After this show, word is going to get out, and stylist will don uncool musicians in Telfar, and the brand will have move on and grow in new ways, but this show captures the moment of pure cool. And fun. The collection features a jacket with detachable sleeves because at the peak of a quality night out what man or woman doesn’t want to rip their sleeves off.
The clothing itself is unisex, contemporary, and youthful, but it draws on much of the same old-school cultural references as the soulful music performed at the show. The color palette is straightforward, exuding a confidence best summed up by the bold leather accents.
Telfar finds a way to be unique and classic at the same time. This is obviously the holy grail for most fashion designers, and for Telfar comes to it naturally. One example that brought this home for me is the fact that Century 21 was the venue for the Telfar after party. It’s a super insider New York move by the Lefrak native, to celebrate in classic institution whose reopening in the 9-11 era was a touchstone for those who held with a patriotism apart from the dominant Freedom Fries jingoism. Of course, the other key to the Telfar label is that it speaks mainly to and for a new generation too young to have gone through any of that.