pyer moss celebrates the black origins of rock n' roll
Designer Kerby Jean-Raymond completes his three-part "American, Also" collection with an ode to Sister Rosetta Tharpe.
This article originally appeared on i-D US.
Designer Kerby Jean-Raymond filled the historic Kings Theatre in Flatbush, Brooklyn to present “Sister,” Pyer Moss’s largest and most impressive show to date. The collection was the final installment of his three-part collection “American, Also,” which has spotlighted the immense and essential contributions black people have made to American culture. For spring/summer 2020, Pyer Moss celebrated Sister Rosetta Tharpe, the queer black woman who invented rock n’ roll.
The crowd, which had lined up down the block, packed into the legendary hall in Kerby’s hometown for what appropriately felt more like a sold-out concert than a traditional fashion show. It began with a stripped down performance by soulful singer Brent Faiyaz. Renowned memoirist Casey Gerald followed Faiyaz with an impassioned monologue about the struggle for freedom and the black experience in America that had members of the audience shouting “Amen.” Then the show quickly amped up as the looks rolled down the runway, set to the powerful vocals of the 80-person Pyer Moss Tabernacle Drip Choir Drenched in Blood, which sang gospel renditions of songs by everyone from Frank Ocean to Tina Turner.
The men’s and women’s collection had all the iconic elements of rock n’ roll (sleek boots, tight pants, and leather), wrapped up in Kerby’s signature primary color palette and graphic prints by Richard Phillips, an incredibly talented painter who was wrongly imprisoned for 45 years for a crime he did not commit.
The men trotted around the runway in tailored suits, flared trousers, and jackets with guitar-shaped lapels, and rhinestone encrusted boots. One standout look was a luxe red velvet suit made in collaboration with Sean Jean that looked straight out of James Brown’s closet. The women’s collection featured keyboard print jackets, flowing silk gowns, asymmetrical skirts, and guitar-shaped bags.
The only thing more rock n’ roll than the collection might have been the modern-day rock stars in the front row: A$AP Ferg, Joey Bada$$, Quavo, Saweetie, and Normani all turned up for the unforgettable show.
One attendee perfectly summed up the evening saying, “It’s the first fashion show I ever felt in my soul.”