Band of Outsiders Bundle Up; Deola Sagoe Shines at Arise Magazine African Collective
An arctic wind whipped down West 15th St., chilling the crowd huddled outside Milk Studios for the Band of Outsiders installation--and inside, the atmosphere was similarly icy. Designer Scott Sternberg, known for his theatrical show staging, set his clean, young line against a beach backdrop last season but went the opposite route on Saturday; models dug their moccasins into simulated snow, gazed wearily at dead fir trees, and pulled their thick wool caps over their ears while dangling precariously from chandeliers. Not fair; six more weeks of winter, and we won't all look like that.
Sternberg, a former film agent, has no shortage of Hollywood influence in his line; preppy staples are tweaked and re-merchandised in a distinctly Robinson Blvd. upgrade. This season featured colorblocked polos, tailored terry sweatpants, and navy single-breasted wool suits for men and thigh-length quilted skirts, fur-collar blazers, and a terrific zip-waist, tan cotton dress for women. Actor Jason Schwartzman, a sometime model for the brand, milled around--as did, reportedly, Sonic Youth maven Kim Gordon. We didn't see her, but her presence would be fitting; Band of Outsiders' soft, snowy world was something of a daydream nation.
Over at Bryant Park (the uptown aunt to Milk Studios' nonchalant youth), Arise Magazine packed the main tent for a triple bill of up-and-coming young designers from Africa. The D.C.-based style and culture tome set the tent awash in fluttering white lights and removed the runway entirely; the models pranced on carpet, and headlining walker Chanel Iman looked relieved for it.
Opening line Black Coffee, from South Africa, sent out voluminous coats of playful silhouette experimentalism; a chevron-gathered grey cape followed bright peach starburst shoulders, then a pastel green coat with dolman sleeves. Loin Cloth & Ashes, from Tanzania, offered bold striped tent dresses, strong cocktail-length knits, and an especially luxe high-waisted tweed skirt suit with a fishtail. And Deola Sagoe, the much-buzzed Nigerian closing designer, produced a collection of striking variance and depth; she began with glittering black cut-out eveningwear and progressed easily to shredded leather leggings, precise asymmetrical military coats, and an '80s-inspired navy and mustard metallic frock.
Stacey Anderson Deola Sagoe
It was a lovely, upbeat experience, the rare show at Bryant more about budding talent than front-row rubbernecking. Keep an eye on Sagoe; she's the emerging designer to beat this season.