New York Fashion Week is on! And it’s real. What a joy to see the young designers back on the runway. CDLM‘s spring-summer 2022 line-up is a good start. Held at the James Fuentes Gallery on the Lower East Side, the label’s designer, Chris Peters, delivered a post-lockdown vision of a night-out wardrobe. Romantic, frayed, messy, and intoxicating vision of what can go right and, what the hell, what sometimes goes a bit wrong, but in the end, what makes something a beautiful reminder of all the possibilities of life between dusk and dawn. And the emphasis here is on hands: Peters made most of these clothes himself, using whatever was around, or out of pieces of things he has lovingly collected, then given a second life. Take, for instance, the poetically dulled gleam from a top made up of patching together pieces of a 19th century Indian tapestry, worn with black satin evening trousers whose perfection of cut pursued an idea of anti-fit; a little off, a lot cool. “A trouser which feels quite sexy, which has attitude,” is how he put it. Another case in point: The deadstock floral fabric radically transformed when used for a pair of low slung jeans. Elsewhere, that adorned top and minimal-glam trouser combo came in the form of a draped tank made from unused tulle from the ’50s, its athletic shape blown apart by the swoosh of an ostrich feather, a recurring motif, partnered with straight-cut anyone-can-wear-’em pants. Other times, the shirt was the focus: a white cotton tux version over a second-skin tubular dress, or a deconstructed style in a washed, faded black, wrapped and draped and twisted around the body. But sometimes the eye would be wrested away from the clothes, and look at the adornments: the crochet garland scarfs, or the entanglement of delicate chain necklaces. For Peters, the question, he said, was where does the clothing stop and the ornamentation start? As he remarked, “You can wear one of the garlands with your t-shirt. That’s your gown.” What he is doing is opening up the conversation to create things that don’t just exist in a vacuum, but can be in conversation with what you already own, and wear, and love to death. Pieces which can, in other words, do the thing we’re learning to do again: socialize.
Collage by Edward Kanarecki.