telfar pushes prep’s limits for spring/summer 17
The designer drew US Olympians, Stefano Pilati, Rose McGowan, and more to his Old Navy-inspired NYFW show and beloved White Castle after party.
Over the past ten years, Telfar Clemens has built his eponymous brand by reimagining banal basics with unexpected, androgynous twists. For his spring/summer 17 collection, debuted last night at New York Fashion Week, that meant toying with sporty mall prep: the kind of stuff you'd find at Old Navy, Aéropostale, Abercrombie, or Martha Stewart Macy's. Working with a bold palette of tangerine, lime green, soft grey, and bright royal blue (colours apparently inspired by Home Depot paint chips), Clemens presented his own variations of striped rugby shirts and mid-thigh polo dresses, where collars and closures shifted to the sides, and in some cases the backs, of garments. We were treated to updated takes on clean cardigans and "critter" pants (chinos embroidered with whales and sailboats and tennis rackets and other things New Englanders are into). Clemens dotted baggier versions with his own logo instead of some lobster. Things were familiar, but felt radically fresh.
Clemens' set design included track and field lane markers and stripes — a fitting home for a collection that included sporty pieces like tailored track pants and stretchy swimsuits, as well as actual athletes. United States Olympians Miles Chamley-Watson and Tori Bowie featured among one of NYFW's most refreshingly diverse casts, which ranged in skin-tones, heights, and hairstyles. Aaron David Ross created an electronic score that artist Ryan Trecartin provided a hilarious voiceover for. His weirdo zingers were pitched down at an octave far below the helium-balloon chirps that frequently appear in his work (Center Jenny this was not).
The designer didn't host his after party at a country club, but rather returned to the midtown White Castle where he's held two previous seasons' after hours bashes. Venus X was on the decks behind the counter, while soda fountains were converted into makeshift mini bars, and Rose McGowan was spotted among booth table dancers. (No word if Stefano Pilati — who made an unexpected appearance at Clemens' show — made it uptown to wash down White Castle sliders with a spiked Sprite).
Text Emily Manning
Photography Don Buckley