Set on the fourth floor of a Chinatown walk-up, Suzanne Rae’s Fall/Winter 2019 collection was introduced in an ordinary apartment with white walls and white floors. Boots, heels, sneakers and clogs of all colors lined the perimeter, right underneath plain white T-shirts tacked up against the wall. Each of these displayed a single large photo of models posing in Rae’s timeless creations. Adding to the intimate feeling was a kitchen in the corner with glasses of white wine and slices of pizza for everyone to enjoy.
The presentation itself was a mock audition, with dozens of monologues performed by models wearing Rae’s creations. They acted out scenes from “Cruel Intentions” and “Miss Congeniality,” among others, occasionally repeating the act after the director — a friend of Rae’s sitting in the corner next to a filming camera — offered his whimsical input. “Do it again, but really punch her in the face this time!” he would shout. “That was great, but can you start out in a really deep voice… and end with the highest possible?”
Plaid was the star of Rae’s show. She incorporated it into Peter-Pan-collar dresses and high-waisted pants, blazers and suspenders, in shades of mustard, olive and crimson. The actors rotated through the pieces, mixing and matching different patterns and colors in what seemed like a completely random way. “Suzie loves contrast,” Mae-Elvis Kaufman, a member of her team, told WSN. Each ensemble featured a different style wig that was in no way connected to the characters or the plotline of the scene.
The gender-bending performers were comical and amateur — by design — and the free-spirited energy they carried was keenly felt by the packed audience. Rae herself joined in for the final monologue, her troupe and young daughter cheering on as she donned a white wig and really got into the role. She was happy to speak with WSN for a few minutes before the show, during which she proudly emphasized her label’s focus on feminism, motherhood — Rae recently had her second child — and social awareness. WSN asked how she would define fashion. “Daily performative art,” she responded without hesitation.
Read more of WSN’s New York Fashion Week coverage here. Email Akshay Prabhushankar at [email protected]