Last night was one for the history books. Kerby Jean-Raymond, founder of New York label Pyer Moss, became the first Black American designer to show at Paris Haute Couture week. Though the show wasn’t in Paris, but at the estate of Madam C.J. Walker – the first female self-made millionaire in America – 30 miles north of New York City.
The momentous occasion came two days late, with torrential rain causing Jean-Raymond to move his Thursday show to Saturday. “Above couture, above Paris, above fashion, is safety,” said the designer.
48 hours later and Jean-Raymond had his shining moment, below crisp blue skies, after all. It was the brand’s first-ever couture collection, and the first time Pyer Moss has been on the catwalk since September 2019. Opened by former Black Panthers leader, Elaine Brown, who spoke of the continued fight for racial equality, each look from the collection was inspired by a different invention by a Black entrepreneur.
Models came dressed in grand capes made entirely of hair rollers (pointing to Solomon Harper, who invented the first heated hair products), ice cream cone chaps (a nod to Alfred Calle, who invented the ice cream scooper) and a giant tub of peanut butter (a homage to agricultural scientist George Washington Carver).
There were tent dresses emblazoned in the African American flag, lampshade evening gowns and mini-dresses in the shape and hues of a traffic light; each looking to a Black entrepreneur who has been erased from modern history.
It was a sublime display, not only of Jean-Raymond’s capability as a designer, but to Pyer Moss a brand, which has repeatedly brought Black voices and stories to luxury fashion’s world stage. No matter rain or shine, there is no stopping what Pyer Moss can achieve.
Photography courtesy of Pyer Moss.