Though New York Fashion Week's inaugural day was, for the most part, engulfed by Kanye West's enigmatic YEEZY Season 4 presentation, the night closed on a comparably #lit note with VFILES' SS17 show. In fact, judging from the conversations I had with various industry friends, the show brought a much-needed energy boost to disgruntled editors who were exhausted from the near day-long schlep to 'Ye's ultra-hyped (and pretty underwhelming) fashion fair.
Thankfully, VFILES came through with yet another season of bombastic performances, wonderfully wacky designs and a guest list whose steez was beyond next-level.
One of VFILES' most gratifying attributes is its diehard cult following. Since it first launched in 2012, the part social media platform, part cult boutique and part talent incubator has accrued a loyal community of brazen creatives who've found solace in the brand's encouragement of self-expression and personal talents, as well as their democratic approach to fashion - an industry oftentimes shrouded by elitism and snobbery.
VFILES is something of a fashion free-for-all; it doesn't really fixate on a particular sartorial trend or aesthetic, but boy does it have an attitude unmatched by any fashion house in the business.
A VFILES show brings forth nearly every kind of niche subcultural coven known (and unknown) to man. Goths, cyberpunks, drag queens, sneaker heads, metal heads, post-emos, guys dressed like Floridian golfer dads (guess we'd call that normcore...?), guys that might have actually been Floridian golfer dads. The show was jam-packed with getups that spanned across the entire style spectrum (see for yourself via the street style captured just outside the show's venue above).
Things kicked off on just the right tune with an explosive performance by Brooklyn-based, teenage nu-metal band, Unlocking The Truth. The shred-fest abruptly cut A-Trak's filler hip-hop soundtrack, making everyone transition from dabbing to raising the sign of the horns, which I wasn't mad at it one bit.
Young Thug, one of this season's mentors (alongside Naomi Campbell, Pat McGrath, Jerry Lorenzo and Mel Ottenberg), took a very hands-on approach in his consultatory role. After noticing a minor wardrobe malfunction (a crooked collar), Thugger jumped up from his seat to alter it accordingly. Now that's dedication. Go on, Thug.
The most applause-worthy moment (besides the finale) arrived during Italian designer Alessandro Trincone's catwalk, when Thug stood up to admire the infamous dress he wore on the cover of his latest mixtpae, No, My Name Is JEFFERY. The moment brought forth a roar of cheers, whistles and affectionate "awww"s, but all I could think of was - who wore it best? (Thugger obviously).
Celebrity front row and high-octane performances aside, the real reason why everyone pulled up was to show their support for this season's roster of designers, who were individually selected from users subscribed to VFILES’ online social networking platform. For SS17, VFILES gave emerging designers Sanchez-Kane (Mexico), Alessandro Trincone (Italy), Song Seoyoon (Seoul), Rushemy Botter (Belgium) and Ground Zero (Hong-Kong) the opportunity to showcase their collections in front of hundreds of people during NYFW.
While I wouldn't necessarily dub every collection as wearable (except for maybe Ground Zero's, who delivered a sick range of kawaii motorcross gear), the amount of detail and conceptual energy that went into the designs was staggering.
Rushemy Botter's frilly menswear was adorned with a bevy of bold statements (including a headpiece that read "ENEMY OF TERRORISM"). Sanchez-Kane mutilated traditional Mexican heritage clothes into gothy, BDSM-friendly getups fit for a night at your local fetish techno club.
Alessandro Trincone's delicate, avant-garde collection of Chinese-inspired evening wear was beyond breathtaking, while Song Seoyoon clearly had blood bags and surgical outfits slapped on the mood board this season.
The night ended with a performance by buzzy rapper Playboi Carti, who jumped and shouted around models as they made their way down the runway for the final walk.
Another year, another sick show. As with previous seasons, VFILES continues to be ahead of the game when it comes to predicting the designers of the future. Feng Chen Wang, who debuted during their SS16 show, was recently given her own show at this year's London Collections: Men, while Ottlolinger, from FW16, will also present solo at NYFW this season (they're also the head designers for YEEZY, if that says anything).
Big up VFILES, it's going to be hard for the rest of NYFW to top this one in my opinion.