chromat dives into spring/summer 17 with pregnant dancers and female athletes
HYPERWAVE’s army of #ChromatBABES included i-D fave Diana Veras, amputee model Lauren Wasser, first-time NYFW runway walker Iskra Lawrence, and dynamic pregnant dancer Mela Murder.
Becca McCharen's radically inclusive brand Chromat begins each season at the same starting point: strong, powerful women. "We were thinking about how the body can create," the architect-turned-fashion designer said of collaborating with dancer Mela Murder, who opened Friday's show with a high-octane routine that would have been very impressive even if she wasn't clearly pregnant. "Mela's pregnancy really became a central theme," McCharen told us after the show. "That's the most powerful thing that a body can do."
So powerful, in fact, that McCharen teamed up with software companies Body Labs and FormLabs to have Mela's choreography bodyscanned and 3D-printed. "It starts off as a bath of resin, so it's all liquid, then it uses lasers to bond the molecules together," she explain of the process. "It felt very much like a digital pregnancy." The baby plastic figurines that she showed us backstage also represented Chromat's dedication to diversity. In the future, McCharen wants all women to be able to download clothing files online and print them at home in custom sizing.
What will #ChromatBABES of the future be downloading from spring/summer 17's "HYPERWAVE"? This season was proof that the brand's #ChromatSWIM line was a super savvy business move, with mesh and spandex bikinis, bodysuits, and zip-up racer tanks dominating the runway. There was another reason, too, for delving deeper into the swim line: the new collection was a celebration of the forces of water and extreme nature, with McCharen particularly inspired by flyboard world champion Gemma Weston. "We're looking at water sports and extreme female athletes, so all these women and water and all this power came together," McCharen explains. The soundtrack by Discwoman's Abby incorporated frenetic electronic beats and cool, crashing waves.
It's impossible to talk about Chromat without mentioning McCharen's consistently killer cast of models. The first non-dancer to step onto the runway was RuPaul's Drag Race alum Carmen Carrera, who in 2013 prompted a petition asking Victoria's Secret to make her their first transgender Angel. They didn't, but with a panelled bodysuit and custom 3D-printed buckle choker by Chris Habana, who needs wings? Other #ChromatARMY recruits included i-D fave Diana Veras, TSS activist and amputee model Lauren Wasser, and first-time runway walker Iskra Lawrence, who modeled for over a decade(!) before finally hitting that huge milestone last night. Clearly the forces of water weren't the only thing being celebrated at McCharen's post-show Le Bain pool party.
Text Hannah Ongley
Photography Getty Images for Chromat