devon halfnight leflufy takes us to the fourth dimension for spring/summer 17
With a little assistance from virtual reality headgear and the digital collective Art404, the designer presents his bright vision of the future.
In today's world, the question "Is fashion art?" is irritating. Just ask (or don't) Andrew Bolton, the curator in charge of the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, who avoided it for the entire 90-minute duration of Met Gala documentary The First Monday in May. In tomorrow's world, the question is irrelevant. Belgian designer Devon Halfnight LeFlufy made another strong argument to this effect at New York Fashion Week: Men's, a followup to February's, use of iPhone cords to weave culture and technology into a new language for a visual generation. This season he spoke that language even more loudly, collaborating with the irreverent crew of digital artists behind Art404 — Tom Galle, Moises Sanabria, Bert Vermaire, and Alyssia Davis — to create a presentation that oscillated between real and virtual reality.
The Vancouver-born, Antwerp-based designer's world — installed at Platform 3 of Skylight Clarkson Square — was a standard set-up featuring crazy high-tech effects. Models stood in front of flat television screens that depicted bursts of cartoon drug capsules and emo quotes. "If regret is useless, then why do I have so much?" read one screen. "If you ain't depressed, you're probably dumb." Around the room were placed five or six Samsung Gear VR headsets, which made the outfits slightly more difficult to see yet clearly enhanced their flavour: screen-prints (as in actual televisions) and sheer fabrics were employed in a way that suggested a similar movement between worlds. Wet-look black Matrix jackets resembled switched-off monitors.
Like the technology, most of the garments picked up where last season left off. Soft office-grey trench coats were accented with shiny silver fastenings and black sashes depicting the collection's esoteric title: May 18 2014 / SELECTED FEELINGS. Part retro, part futuristic bell-bottom trousers were paired with cowboy boots painted with pop arty images of the same woman's pixelated face. "Deep Theta & Deep Delta Mind Training," read more text. If the success of certain augmented reality gaming apps is anything to go by, moving between these disparate states of being is something Generation Halfnight does with ease.
Text Hannah Ongley
Photography Dan & Corina Lecca