vfiles goes ‘trl’ with a times square takeover for fall/winter 17
The downtown brand staged a concert and runway show featuring Lion Babe, 21 Savage, and Lil Uzi Vert at MTV’s show space.
Snow Xue Gao
It took CBS Records threatening to pull its entire catalogue from MTV's rotation in order to get the newly launched network to air Michael Jackson music videos in the early 1980s. (David Bowie notably took one interviewer to task about diversity in a recently unearthed interview). But by the next decade, MTV had became a powerful, provocative youth voice - chiefly, through its news reporting and political coverage. In 1998, it also made a populist effort with Total Request Live (though most millennials remember the program as a carnival of celebrities lording over Times Square, with only 15-second snippets of the day's most popular videos).
VFILES - the youth-fueled platform that has expanded from a social network to a crowd-sourced runway show and record label - is wise to align itself with MTV's legacy. Its ambitions are rather similar: staying ahead of the curve by speaking directly to clued-in young people around the world, and letting them call the shots. So for its eighth runway iteration, the Soho-based brand trekked uptown, to TRL's Times Square studio.
Before debuting three new designers on the runway, VFILES livestreamed a two-hour pre-show performance. New York neo-soul duo Lion Babe stopped by, as did Swedish singer Zara Larsson. Playboi Carti and Lil Uzi Vert rounded out the pre-performance (their fellow Atlanta native 21 Savage later appeared on the runway). Seeing anyone on the TRL stage is always bittersweet; it immediately recalls the pre-social media days when Britney, Xtina, Destiny's Child, and their finest low-rise pants connected with fans through performance and personality.
On the runway, New York City-based designer Snow Xue Gao presented tailoring that's already made a fan of one such pop megastar: Rihanna. The bad gal rocked one of Gao's pinstripe pieces during her Global Citizen Fest performance. Last night, the Parsons grad sent out her newest lineup - silk-accented suiting elements draped to emphasize volume.
Gao was joined on the runway by Amsterdam Fashion Institute student Daniëlle Cathari, and Aussie menswear duo Strateas Carlucci. The former took a page out of master recycler Margiela's book, and created new garments out of vintage Adidas tracksuits. Cathari shifted the seams and iconic three stripes to create patchworked pieces that still felt neat. Strateas Carlucci, like Calvin Klein that morning, was feeling a corporate cowboy vibe. Among the label's standout pieces were boxy, oversized jackets in varying colors and fabrications: mustard yellow, inky black, iridescent purple - rendered in faux croc, leather, and suede. The runway show, like so many episodes of TRL before it, was later broadcast in Times Square.
Text Emily Manning