Thursday, June 8, 2023
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Fear of God Fall 2023 Ready-to-Wear

Nina Simone mournfully covers Billie Holiday’s “Strange Fruit,” followed by Kanye West’s furious sampling of it in the palest of limes as a model in “Blood On The Leaves” — from From his baseball cap to his tailored parka and collared hoodie down to his Adidas — descend the white ego ramp at the Hollywood Bowl in raw, languid pomp. Shortly behind him, another immaculate walker is toting an Adidas-branded gym bag. American Gonzalez, in black tailoring, kicked off the Fear Of God show earlier — after Sampha’s gorgeous live performance — with Ovaflow and Lesun’s sampling of Jupiter Sharps’ battle prayer in Glory. More musical messages reflective of the collective trauma experienced by African Americans.

Suddenly, a brand that had built a wide global fan base with its precise and discreet unisex Essentials collection was no longer unisex. The juxtaposition of luxury and trauma is sweet and sour, disturbing and real.

As Fear of God founder Jerry Lorenzo said backstage, he wanted to “celebrate American luxury” and the promise of America’s rise without ignoring generational injustice exploit. He said: “When I was growing up, my dad told me stories about his grandma picking cotton. Now I’m lucky enough to have my staff bring me cloth books and I can pick cotton. So there’s freedom, but there’s also responsibility that comes with a lot of pain. . But more than the pain, it comes from love.”

There was a lot of love in the first live performance in the brand’s 10 year history. There were thousands of people in the Hollywood Bowl, and no one seemed willing to take a seat as the apricot dusk receded into cold gloom. Los Angeles often hosts big-ticket fashion shows from European labels, which are here to match the Hollywood hype, but this is the new local protagonist in the field. A community comes together and takes pleasure in staying. A puff of hydraulic smoke surged upwards. Eventually we were called to order and Sampha of London played his three-song opening on an upright piano. Then a door behind the dark stage opened and the fashion collection came out.

Gonzalez and subsequent looks were black, and — though not quite — the cropped trouser silhouette dominated by the baggy cut coat above was anything but Fear of God Exclusive, but certainly at its core. The leather comes into play. When it starts to splinter into multiple colors, shapes and textures, you start to worry that the rhetoric of the display will overwhelm the collection it’s meant to display. Wool coats transformed into collarless furs and jackets, paired with tartan trousers in gold and light green. Basketball pants paired with fringed pants are reminiscent of early Fear of God styles. A wool bomber jacket that looked like it was shaved offered a more masculine silhouette over smarter slacks tucked into a high-top top, while a knitted crop top added a touch to the tailored silhouette for a feminine look. A welcome sporty vibe.

Down on that egotistical slope, Kanye West and Bianca Censori have sat quietly. When “Blood On The Leaves” blared, West stood up and danced with the rest of the crowd. At the end, Ray Charles sang “America the Beautiful,” and fireworks shot golden sparks across the sky. Lorenzo said: “I need to share every part of the Christian journey, the black journey, not just the part that people like to pick and celebrate. You know it’s a beautiful journey. But if you pay attention to every part of it and Understand why it is the way it is, and it’s all the more beautiful.” It’s a cinematic series that lives up to the demands of American tradition, but it’s enriched with the nuances of an authentic cultural experience.



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