• Text Lakeisha Goedluck
  • 15th September 2018

Bring the noise

On a rainy Sunday afternoon, Telfar Clemens presented his SS19 collection in an unusual spot – the Blade Lounge East heliport, which he routinely travelled past on his daily commute from Manhattan to his home in Queens.

Devised in conjunction with SO-IL – an architecture and design firm based in New York – as part of its BOFFO Building Fashion initiative, the result was a structure Michael Foucault would rejoice over. Fences were erected around the heliport-turned-catwalk which the audience circled around to “[create] a show in which everyone essentially is front row”, as Clemens’ notes read.

Orchestrated by South African performance artists FAKA, a range of singers commanded the space and delivered a soulful, upbeat medley of old-school tracks with a twist, from The Temptations’ Papa was a Rolling Stone to Aaliyah’s Are you that somebody?. All the while, models walked the perimeter – some voguing as they went – in the brand’s NUTBUSH TENNESSE line.

Named after Tina Turner’s birth place, in the designer’s own words, this unisex collection was “dedicated to America.” Polo shirts printed with the nation’s flag were paired with high-waisted trousers, while the Budweiser logo was spliced up and reconfigured with the Telfar symbol and emblazoned onto t-shirts. Denim flares, wide-collared shirts and cut-out jeans oozed Southern Americana.

Fittingly, the show notes featured a message by Clemens to his younger self. “Design the uniforms for 10,000 employees of White Castle. Win the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund. Keep your family close, ignore the bullshit. Good luck — lots of love.” This is a designer whose vision won’t be derailed, and this show/concert was proof that nothing can rain on his parade.