“Rain means luck and is a blessing, it is the ancestors’ way of giving us a non-verbal message. “
Nelson Mandela University Professor Nokuzola Mndende
Trailblazing designer Kerby Jean Raymond opted to have press and supporters shuttled to Irvington, New York for his first Couture show. The location was set at Villa Lewaro, the historic home of black beauty pioneer, Madam CJ Walker, the first female self made millionaire (read more about her here). Her mansion, Villa Lewaro, was built in 1918 by Vertner Tandy, the Co-Founder of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. Madam Walker built the mansion to stand as a tribute to the advancements of African-Americans, and to act as a pillar of inspiration for future generations.
Anticipation and excitement were high, as this was one of the first fashion events to happen since quarantine almost two years ago. The fashion crowd, accustomed to comparatively less exciting venues, were grouped together like kids headed to camp, off to a fantastic adventure. Suddenly, just as guests arrived at 2pm, the skies opened, and it started to rain–relentlessly.
Initially, guests weathered the storm, sitting underneath white umbrellas and ponchos, provided by the Pyer Moss team. When the thunder and lightning started, everyone ran for shelter, with many huddling on Walker’s massive, white columned porch, leading to an intimate experience. Celebrity Stylist Law Roach, Reporter Teri Agins, Iconic Designer Byron Lars, and more, rubbed elbows with Madam CJ Walkers great-great granddaughter, Alelia Bundles.
Logan Browning, of Dear White People, said, “This is a first, making history. I personally love that the line, the team…Watching them win feels very specific, but like it includes all of us. Being here, I feel comfortable. I’ve been to other shows and had a good time. But the atmosphere, the community I think, is unique and special.”
Byron Lars added, “Usually when something this seismic happens, it’s because something equally as seismic that is fabulous is about to follow. I am rooting him on. Go Kerby. I love that there’s a message in everything. It’s not just about fashion. His message today: Persevere.”
Bethann Hardison offered, “[The Pyer Moss brand] embodies determination, dedication, and it’s continuance.”
Finally fashion reporter Teri Agins told Fashion Bomb Daily, “He’s got an incredible sense of show. We’re here at Madam CJ Walker’s mansion. Just think if these walls could talk: Just think who was probably here. Zora Neale Hurston. Langston Hughes. All these people were here, partying at one point. “
After many false starts and intermissions, which included a rousing speech by former Black Panther Party chairwoman Elaine Browne, the party truly began as the skies cleared up, and dancing, eating, and drinking ensued, set to the sounds of DJ Clark Kent. In the tradition of Walker’s parties with Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston, Villa Lewero’s new owner, Rich Dennis, mingled with those making history today, including Biggs Burke, Saint Jhn, Yvette Noel-Schure, Sergio Hudson, Justine Skye, Aoki Lee Simmons, and many more.
Raymond greeted his fans once the show was officially postponed. He seemed in good spirits, attesting to feeling “Amazing,” and intimating that only good would result after this.
Part 2 is set for Saturday , though no details have been released as yet. Either way, history was made.
Keep it locked here for updates.
Images: Karl Pierre
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