Kerby Jean-Raymond, the founder and designer of Pyer Moss, made history by becoming the first Black-American invited to show at Paris Couture Fashion Week–and the results were absolutely incredible.
Instead of showing off his stunning designs in Paris, Jean-Raymond opted for Villa-Lewaro–the home of the late Madam C.J. Walker–as the setting to present his collection. Originally scheduled for Thursday, the presentation was impeded by severe thunderstorms, which caused the Pyer Moss team to recreate the entire show from beginning to end on Saturday.
It’s only right this estate be used for such a momentous occasion, just as Madam C. J. Walker intended, saying she wanted Villa Lewaro to not only be her home, but a place of community.
“I am not a millionaire, but I hope to be some day, not because of the money, but because I could do so much to help my race,” she said in a 1917 interview with The New York Times about her mansion.
When the beauty mogul lived in the 34-room mansion, she hosted gatherings for the minds of the Harlem Renaissance such as James Weldon Johnson, Zora Neale Hurston, W. E. B. Du Bois, and Langston Hughes.
Before the looks were revealed, Elaine Brown, a former Chairman of the Black Panther Party, delivered a powerful message about liberation, which set the tone for a fashion show whose garments were a visual representations of Black excellence.
Every couture look was a take on a Black invention, including the horseshoe, ice cream, the mop, the single use bottle cap, and even the hot comb.
The looks presented on Saturday were a creative and unexpected representation of Black innovation in more ways than one, further proving why Kerby Jean-Raymond being the first Black-American invited to show at Paris Couture Fashion Week is long overdue.
Take a look at some of the looks down below:
Mobile Refrigeration — invented by Frederick McKinley Jones
The New Hairbrush — invented by Lyda Newman
Chess — said to have originated in Africa
Ice Cream — introduced to America by Augustus Jackson