New York Fashion Week closes after a runway marathon of diverse designs


Models walk the runway during the Thom Browne Autumn/Winter 2024 fashion show at New York Fashion Week. Photo: AFP

In a sparse warehouse dotted with trees, models sauntered down the runway in tweed coats to the sound of ravens as US designer Thom Browne closed New York Fashion Week with what he called a "romantically dark" show.

The designer's theatrical Autumn/Winter 2024 collection on Wednesday (Feb 14) evening was inspired by Edgar Allan Poe's seminal The Raven, in which the hero, who has just lost his lover, is visited by the black bird.

With Janet Jackson and Queen Latifah looking on, half-human, half-animal forms – some with feather veils or masks – sported Browne's distinctive black and white palette, as a female voice read lines from the poem.

A stole made of shredded tuxedo strips was worn over the shoulders of one model.

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The US designer used velvet, cashmere, black mohair and silk to create the deconstructed, eccentric silhouettes he favours.

Known for reimagining the gray suit, with Bermuda shorts or pleated skirts for men, Browne said after the show that he had sought to create a "romantically dark" atmosphere.

At the centre of the show was a model acting as a tree, wearing an immense black puffer jacket, by far the largest piece seen during fashion week in the Big Apple.

'Put Africa on the map'

With between 10 and a dozen shows a day since Friday (Feb 9), the runway marathon saw an avalanche of styles.

New York's week may be less significant than those in Paris, Milan and London, but it still attracts a galaxy of stars, like Beyonce, who sat in the front row for the Luar fashion show on Tuesday (Feb 13).

Designer Jacques Agbobly, 26, who was born in Togo and immigrated to Chicago as a child, represents a new, diverse generation of fashion talent.

"My work is to put Africa on the map," Agbobly told said, about his collection.

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"I'm telling a story about my upbringing as an African person living in the US... and having to navigate my identity between West Africa versus living in America and figuring out a middle ground of having to exist in between spaces," he said.

Among the pieces shown by Agbobly was a double-belted trench coat in green, yellow and red checks, reminiscent of the colours of his native country's flag.

His creations are in the running for this year's LVMH Prize for Young Fashion Designers. – AFP

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