Pyer Moss’ Kerby Jean-Raymond makes history as the first black designer to showcase a collection in Paris couture week

Pieces from Pyer Moss’ “Wat U Iz” collection

Couture or high fashion is where art and clothing meet. It is where fashion designers go all out with their ideas crafting new and imaginative styles that will influence the way we dress and, more importantly, create designs that make a statement.

That is the aim of fashion designer Kerby Jean-Raymond, founder and creative director of New York-based fashion label Pyer Moss, with his maiden couture collection. Dubbed as “Wat U Iz,” the collection is also a pretty historic one as its designer is the first black designer to showcase a collection in Paris couture week.

According to the brand’s website, Jean-Raymond sees Pyer Moss as an “art project” or “a timely social experiment.” That is why his every creation evokes a sense of storytelling and theatricality that is grounded by activism and social commentary, earning him a stamp of approval from American Vice President Kamala Harris.

That design sense is very evident in his couture collection. Focusing on the erasure of Black culture in clothing, “Wat U Iz” presented pieces like a puffer coat resembling a black hand with a mop, a cape made of hair rollers, a peanut butter jar look, a pink fringe number that resembles a lamp shade, and an organza dress with a fridge door complete with a statement “But who invented Black trauma?”

The collection was shown in the façade of Villa Lewaro in Irvington, New York, a former home of America’s first self-made millionaire Madame C.J. Walker. The space was dedicated before to uplift the Black community.

“We are an invention inside of an invention. Inside of the creation of race, we made blackness. Uprooted from home and put in a foreign land, we made culture,” the brand says. “And when they tried to strip our humanity, we made freedom so tethered to each other that it still shapes the world today.”

Watch Pyer Moss autumn-winter couture 2021 show here:

Source: Manila Bulletin (