adam selman makes a murderer for fall/winter 16

The designer lifted inspiration from the addicting true crime series in his standout show of pajama prints and metallic slip dresses last night.

by Emily Manning
12 February 2016, 6:20pm

Photography Jason Lloyd-Evans


Last night, Adam Selman sent his girls down the Milk Studios runway guided by this devilish credo, scribbled in sharpie on ripped up cardboard taped to the wall. It's a mantra fit for a film noir star. And though on-screen suspense was at the core of the New York-based designer's fall/winter 16 season, his collection wasn't riffing on 40s cinema. Rather, Selman drew influence from a television series that's slightly more contemporary.

"It all sort of revolved around Making a Murderer and how it became this fanatic cultural thing. Everyone was talking about it -- I couldn't stop talking about it -- so we decided just to go with it," Selman said backstage. If you've spent the last two months buried underneath a wifi-less rock, the addicting true crime show has proven inescapable for pretty much everyone you've ever met. The Netflix original follows car mechanic Steven Avery through his incredulous legal battles in small town Wisconsin, where he's presently serving a life sentence for the first degree murder of photographer Teresa Halbach. "The collection is this idea of 'murder in the night,'" said Selman.

Selman's concept was born from binge watching nocturnal mischief in Manitowoc County, but his clothing couldn't have been further from it. "There's pajama prints, negligees, camis, little slip dresses, and then these big splashes of red," the designer said. Those pajama prints came out early on the runway: black-and-white paisley patterns featured on boxy tailoring. One dress featured an apron of neat black micromesh, a fabric Selman employed deftly throughout the rest of the offering. It added volume and mystery to a pair of two simple metallic slip dresses.

Though Selman was up front about his true crime obsessions, his collection wasn't over-wrought with references. Were those moments of workwear construction -- overall strapped-dresses, boxier knit jackets, and functional zippers -- nods to Avery's auto body? Nah. "That's just me -- I wear Levi's and Carhartts every day," said Selman. "It's become sort of a staple that's fun to refresh." Michel Gaubert's soundscape set the tone without incorporating the series' theme tune or samples of Avery's distinctive Wisconsin accent. Instead Gaubert built around what sounded like a YouTube confessional: "I like to wear makeup, I like to go to parties," a distant voice explained. "It was a fun, different way to do it," said Selman. He did -- however -- treat his showgoers to a little "Evidence"-marked box that contained candy in the shape of a bloody key.

Those attendees have become increasingly recognizable faces. Backstage, Orange Is the New Black cast members Natasha Lyonne and the goth fashionista herself -- Jackie Cruz -- were joined by Hari Nef, Joey Bada$$, and Inez and Vinoodh. Though Rihanna wasn't on hand, her "BBHMM" henchmen Sita Abellan and Sanam Sindhi were there to give their murderous approval. And, of course, Selman's longtime pal and crafting partner Amy Sedaris was the first to land a post-show hug. She's probably the one Selman has been staying up late watching Making a Murderer with. 


Text Emily Manning
Photography Jason Lloyd Evans

Making a Murderer
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fall/winter 16
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