Discussed: Band of Outsiders, Arise Magazine African Collective
An arctic wind whipped down West 15th St., chilling the crowd huddled outside Milk Studios for the Band of Outsiders installation–and inside, the atmosphere was similarly icy. Designer Scott Sternberg, known for his theatrical show staging, set his clean, young line against a beach backdrop last season but went the opposite route on Saturday; models dug their moccasins into simulated snow, gazed wearily at dead fir trees, and pulled their thick wool caps over their ears while dangling precariously from chandeliers. Not fair; six more weeks of winter, and we won’t all look like that.
Sternberg, a former film agent, has no shortage of Hollywood influence in his line; preppy staples are tweaked and re-merchandised in a distinctly Robinson Blvd. upgrade. This season featured colorblocked polos, tailored terry sweatpants, and navy single-breasted wool suits for men and thigh-length quilted skirts, fur-collar blazers, and a terrific zip-waist, tan cotton dress for women. Actor Jason Schwartzman, a sometime model for the brand, milled around–as did, reportedly, Sonic Youth maven Kim Gordon. We didn’t see her, but her presence would be fitting; Band of Outsiders’ soft, snowy world was something of a daydream nation.
Over at Bryant Park (the uptown aunt to Milk Studios’ nonchalant youth), Arise Magazine packed the main tent for a triple bill of up-and-coming young designers from Africa. The D.C.-based style and culture tome set the tent awash in fluttering white lights and removed the runway entirely; the models pranced on carpet, and headlining walker Chanel Iman looked relieved for it.
Opening line Black Coffee, from South Africa, sent out voluminous coats of playful silhouette experimentalism; a chevron-gathered grey cape followed bright peach starburst shoulders, then a pastel green coat with dolman sleeves. Loin Cloth & Ashes, from Tanzania, offered bold striped tent dresses, strong cocktail-length knits, and an especially luxe high-waisted tweed skirt suit with a fishtail. And Deola Sagoe, the much-buzzed Nigerian closing designer, produced a collection of striking variance and depth; she began with glittering black cut-out eveningwear and progressed easily to shredded leather leggings, precise asymmetrical military coats, and an ’80s-inspired navy and mustard metallic frock.
It was a lovely, upbeat experience, the rare show at Bryant more about budding talent than front-row rubbernecking. Keep an eye on Sagoe; she’s the emerging designer to beat this season.