Last month, on the night of the CFDA Awards, the designer Willy Chavarria invited acclaimed photographer Danielle Levitt to capture him getting ready with Ghanian-American artist Moses Sumney at the Standard Hotel.
Chavarria was nominated for American Menswear Designer of the Year, and Sumney, who broke through around the same time the designer did in 2015, was his date for the big night.
"Moses is a wonderful muse for the WILLY brand," Chavarria tells PAPER. "He embodies the elegance, grace and depth in character that my collections are created to amplify. He aways looks amazing in my designs wherever he might wear it. Of course he would be the one to accompany me at this particular event."
Sumney wore the slightly askew double-breasted silk tuxedo jacket with giant rosette from Chavarria's Spring 2023 collection — which was shown at the Marble Collegiate Church in New York — sans the white dress shirt underneath (he opted for a sequined tank top instead).
The two hadn't met until this point, but Chavarria says they've long been fans of each other's work. They spent the day together "hanging out at the hotel doing facials, trying on clothes, taking pictures and sipping champaign."
Levitt, who met Chavarria through the designer's regular collaborator Jess Cuevas, calls Chavarria "an incredible person, warm and open with a taste level that lives at the top."
"He’s a chic weirdo, just my type," she says.
Sumney, a natural in front of the camera (he's starred in films for Thom Browne and walked for Riccardo Tisci's Burberry) feeds off of Chavarria's energy in Levitt's moody photos, including some against the Standard's iconic see-through bathtub. It was a fitting pre-game before the big night ahead.
"We danced well into the night and disappeared into our limousines sometime as the sun was rising," Chavarria says.
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