In an industry dominated by white male designers and unreasonably cumbersome clothing, Lamine Kouyaté starts off the XULY.Bët Spring/Summer 2017 collection with simplicity in style and unapologetically loud prints that become the focus of the show. This season’s collection payed tribute to Ancient Egypt through featuring vivid primary and neon colors like teal and violet with accents of gold, and through accessorizing with headwraps on most of the models. The styles started off with bomber jackets and matching fitted pants with gold and purple velvets, but quickly progressed into neutral knee-length style shifts and calmer toned one-pieces by the end. And while the zip-ups and matching pants had a regal feel about them, the shift dresses deviated from the tone of the show, conveying a more casual cosmopolitan look.
Headwraps and aviators were the only accessorizing Kouyaté matched with his pieces, but while the headwraps made the models look like revitalized royalty, the aviators made every jacket look like a nouveau-riche mom jetting off to tennis lessons; they didn’t make much sense as a whole.
However, amidst the gold and the glam, the most striking detail that stood out was the diversity of the models. Most Fashion Week shows are dominated by the quintessential waif-like blonde, so the inclusion of black models was really what gave life to his collection — it wouldn’t feel like watching a procession in Cleopatra’s court if only white models went down the runway.
This season’s XULY.Bët show represented a collection that mixed Kouyaté’s original African-influenced style with a modern twist via his simple cuts on his dresses and jackets.
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