Telfar: Ready-To-Wear AW19
It’s always a performance at Telfar. For seasons now, the American designer has been walking the line between a musical concert and a catwalk show, taking elements of each and merging them into a new, unique format. Last season it was a rainy Manhattan rooftop with the likes of Moses Sumney and Selah Marley performing, intertwined with the models, all forming a utopian vision of the USA. This conversation continued last night as Telfar Clemens presented Country, his AW19 collection. The 2017 winner of the CFDA Vogue Fashion Fund knows how to design great clothes. But that’s only a small part of his world. The openly sexual codes which surpass ideas of subversion stand out: cut-out crop-tops, knitted balaclavas with jerseys printed with oversized logos. Rising up from a place of black queerness, Telfar furthers his commercial tendencies in becoming the next big American designer. If you squinted while looking at the clothes, they could have been taken from an archive of any heritage fashion house: collegiate knits, printed jerseys, denim and corduroy. But once you opened your eyes, it was clear this was something totally new, totally relevant to the world outside the venue. It’s things we’ve seen before, now given a new life through the visual language of Telfar.
Instead of walking down the catwalk, this season the models were carried in a crowd-surfing momentum, as yet another homage to the brand’s relationship with music. There they were, walking on air as they represented some new-age religious icons with the word “country” being recited as the soundtrack. It was clear that this was as much of a political commentary as it was a personal homage to the people that are part of the Telfar galaxy. And with what’s happening in the real world, that’s the galaxy we want to live in right now.
Photographs by Jason-Lloyd Evans.