Pyer Moss’ Kerby Jean-Raymond doesn’t look to sunflowers and rainbows for collection inspirations. For the past few seasons, the New York-based designer has channeled more personal sentiments instead, revolving his design mood around topics such as social or political activism.
This season’s collection, “Bernie vs. Bernie,” touched on economic inequalities and greed, using a cheeky title comparison between Bernie Sanders and Bernie Madoff to do so. Though heavy-handed, it’s a topic the designer happens to be familiar with, having been slapped with a lawsuit by a former business partner earlier this year.
So how did the designer express his personal turbulence through fashion? With a clever luxury twist, of course. And he started with the shoes.
This season, Jean-Raymond partnered with veteran designer Salehe Bembury — best known for his past designs at brands such as Yeezy, Greats and Cole Haan — on the runway footwear.
The duo created clunky-soled oxfords meant to channel the “bogged down” feeling one gets under financial stress. It was a clever tie-in to ready-to-wear, which had sweaters or tees printed with wording such as “greed” and “come shake the money tree.”
Below, Bembury discusses the new collaboration, which was produced for both the men’s and women’s looks.
1. What went into the creative process for the shoes this season?
“We extended the outsole using hand-molding and cut silicone. We created this block to serve as an anchor — it’s a metaphor for the feeling you feel when you’re bogged down to a certain place or situation because of circumstance. That circumstance can be financial or otherwise.”
2. Was this your first time working together?
“We worked together previously on a sneaker collaboration. That collaboration took place at the factory level. To construct this project by hand was way more rewarding.”
3. How were the shoes made? Will they be produced commercially?
“It was an entirely handmade process. I hand-molded, poured and cut every shoe. If they were to be produced commercially, I think they’d be received well, but that’s a question for Kerby.”
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