Jerry Lorenzo has been drumming up buzz his first-ever Fear of God show for weeks with billboards erected all over his home base of Los Angeles. It would not be open to the public even though it would take place at the Hollywood Bowl amphitheater, which has a capacity of 17,500.
Nevertheless there were thousands of guests pouring in and, after a 90-minute wait past start-time, things finally got going with a piano performance from the British musician Sampha. Models like Joan Smalls, Adut Akech, Alton Mason and Maggie Mauer strutted down the runway and into the crowd until the rapper Pusha T came out for his set. Fireworks lit up the sky for the finale.
This was Lorenzo's 8th Fear of God collection in its 10-year history, and some looks from his popular Essentials line were also included in the mix, as was his upcoming collab with Adidas. Celebs like White Lotus star Adam DiMarco, Tracee Ellis Ross, Jared Leto and even Kanye West were in the crowd, the latter of whom quietly arrived towards the end covered up in a black hoodie and mask.
The clothes — understated, minimal and roomy in neutral tones — are in the same vein of "quiet luxury" and "stealth wealth" that's been all over the fashion discourse of late. Though the collection would be just as impactful if it was released through lookbook (as they've been doing since it’s inception), Lorenzo wanted to show more than just design fundamentals.
A Nina Simone cover of Billie Holiday’s “Strange Fruit," a Ray Charles rendition of "America the Beautiful" and a sampling from the Civil War slavery film Glory were among the bits included in the soundtrack, a reflection on the collective trauma of Black American experience.
“When I grew up, my dad told me stories of his grandma picking cotton," he told reporters backstage. "Now I have the luxury that my staff brings me fabric books, and I get to pick and choose the cotton. So there’s freedom, and there’s a responsibility that comes from a lot of pain. But more than pain, it comes from love.”
Indeed, Lorenzo's first runway show served not just as a celebration of American luxury but a reflection of the pain, exploitation and injustices Black Americans faced for generations that allowed America's rise.
Photos courtesy of Fear of God