In an intimate setting on an upper floor of the New Museum, on a white runway decorated with an arrangement of baby’s breath, Gogo Graham presented her Fall 2019 collection entitled Eternal Peepshow. Trans designers and models have become slightly more visible on runways since Graham broke ground four years ago showing her first collection at NYFW and, while she refined some recurrent themes in this range of predominantly dresses, she also took the opportunity to offer an unexpected delight: a luxurious softness.
The designer has moved on from the patchwork upcycled aesthetic of the past to draw from her resumé of luxury sector experience, with furrier Dennis Basso, in production for Oscar de la Renta, for costume designer Zaldy.
Gauzy layers were draped, tucked, ruched and slung low on the hip or gently gathered at the tailbone, tassels dangled from handkerchief hems, and contrasting sashes undulated gently as the models walked.
Outfits in a preponderance of white and ecru suggesting ceremony and innocence were intermingled with single head-to-toe looks in emerald, or scarlet or black. Towering platforms by Jeffrey Campbell had been painted white, and faces were covered in tulle held in place by headbands reminiscent of those worn by theater performers for their nightly ritual of applying greasepaint. But in this case red lipstick and eyelashes were applied to the veil not the skin. The result was a blurring of the reality and the ideal, capturing an in-between that was poignant, ethereal and doll-like.
Delicately dramatic throughout, the show’s finale was a bride dressed in a froth of blush tulle who glided slowly down the runway simulating the extraction of pins from her head as blood trickled down her forehead onto her veil. It recalled Christian imagery while also reminding us of the dangers of existing in society as a trans person, often the target of bigotry that comes from religious fervor.
Fashion editor Jackie Mallon is also an educator and author of Silk for the Feed Dogs, a novel set in the international fashion industry.
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