Pyer Moss’ couture show elevates everyday objects by Black inventors

06 Pyer Moss Paris Couture Week 2021 RESTRICTED
New York CNN  — 

Outside the historic Villa Lewaro mansion in Irvington, New York, Pyer Moss founder and creative director Kerby Jean-Raymond became the first ever Black American designer to show at Paris Haute Couture Week. In his highly anticipated show, “Wat U Iz,” the designer sent models down a vivid blue runway in larger-than-life garments referencing everyday objects created by Black inventors.

The live-streamed showcase took place two days later than anticipated, after torrential downpours saw the first attempt called off. With a hasty 48 hours to restage months of work, Jean-Raymond finally showed his collection on Saturday. It comprised high-concept, meticulously fabricated clothing based on recognizable items, including a bicycle, traffic light, chessboard, fire escape, Super Soaker, refrigerator and mop.

Former Black Panther Party chairwoman Elaine Brown spoke ahead of the show, which also featured performances from Brooklyn rapper 22Gz and a live string orchestra. The grounds were part of the story, too. The idyllic 34-room Italianate mansion was once home to Black entrepreneur and activist Madam C.J. Walker, considered to be America’s first female self-made millionaire. Born to formerly enslaved parents, Walker built a beauty empire from a single hair care product for Black women.