lyz olko imagines a modern-day joan of arc for fall/winter 17
Alexandra Marzella choreographed the hybrid presentation/performance piece inspired by the French heroine, intended to inspire people to rise up against the current political environment.
On Monday night trash bags, glitter, and palo santo incense graced us with their presence at St. Mark's Church as Lyz Olko presented her second collection at NYFW. Instead of a classic runway show, dancers introduced us to the pieces with movement curated by artist/model/activist extraordinaire Alexandra Marzella. "It's more about the message," Olko said as the all women's choir The Accord Treble sang "Dream Baby Dream" by Bruce Springsteen behind her. "Fashion is important, but there are much bigger things going on in the world right now."
Lyz Olko launched her first line over a year ago. Formerly the designer for the cult brand Obesity + Speed, Olko's own label has a large focus on using sustainable methods of production and recycled materials. The line is made between New York and Los Angeles, the majority of which takes place in Olko's studio in New York
The crowd at St. Mark's was heavy with a certain Instagram influencer kind of creative. Photographers swarmed around the church, taking photos of everyone from Dev Hynes to Sasha Melnychuk to Zana Bayne. As soon as the lights went down, the dancers walked around the audience whispering, Wait til' you see my lips, a play on the Ying Yang twins song "Wait (The Whisper Song)", which came on minutes later.
With Marzella in the lead, each performer got their chance in the spotlight. While holding thin wooden sticks, they performed an interpretive dance across the floor of the church and then fell to the floor with a loud bang. While the choir switched songs to "Into My Arms" by Nick Cave, an organ echoed as each performer hugged audience members and showed how versatile each piece really could be.
Only a small portion of the larger collection was shown. Tulle skirts, army print pants and "I <3 New York" sweatshirts were showcased along with oversized jackets and graphic tees displaying "Friendship, Honesty, Death." The A/W 17 collection features delicate dresses utilizing metallic trims like sequins and chiffons, as well as Olko's trademark hoodies, bomber jackets and denim. What looked like an ode to New York grunge style was accessorized by Doc Martens shoes and lots of glitter.
The 20-minute performance ended with the performers praising the choir members as they posed in front of them smiling and looking accomplished. They then invited the audience members to join them.
Text Jo Rosenthal
Photography Olimpia Dior