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The reinvention of black with Willy Chavarria

By Kristopher Fraser

Feb 7, 2018

Not since Rei Kawakubo was credited with "inventing black" for her 1981 Comme Des Garçons collection at Paris Fashion Week, has a designer been able to make such a statement with the easiest to wear neutral. That was until Willy Chavarria debuted his fall/winter 2018 collection at New York Fashion Week: Men's. Chavarria sent a collection of black leather jackets, black T-shirts, black sweater and black pants, mixed hint with a few hints of blue jeans down the runway, all stemming from a place of sadness.

"My inspiration was the state of sadness that I think so many of us are in," Chavarria said. "So I wanted to show a collection in a very sad form, while preserving the idea of realness and the beauty in human realness."

Willy Chavarria draws on sadness for his fall/winter 2018 collection

As he designed the collection, he spent much of his time in a state of sadness, and realized that everyone is kind of sad and depressed. This resulted in a color palette of black, dark black, and washed grey to help captivate a feeling of mourning. Hints of color were used, particularly in graphic prints that represented the hope and spark of life we have. Red was used to symbolize the frustration and angst we have. If there was any reminder that fashion has the power to reflect our emotional state, it was this collection.

For his final look that he sent down the runway, Chavarria used an older male model in a pair of baggy denim jeans holding a baby. Regarding this unusual choice for closing a runway show, Chavarria said, "The simple pair of jeans is a signature silhouette. It's the kind of silhouette I see in your average guy. I love the idea of taking that and making it a fashion silhouette. I felt it was a reminder to us all that we are all vulnerable and we need to think about our future. It's up to us to carve out happiness and a better future for our children."

The collection was also built around the concept of guarded clothing and the idea of wearing uniforms to keep yourself safe. Although there was a lot of heavy and stiff looking outerwear pieces, they were still very luxurious and lightweight. "It's a way of saying this is our armor, and it's up to us to feel good inside," Chavarria said.

Even though he isn't doing a women's line yet, his runway show featured several female models because they still make up a large part of his customer base. His customer transcends beyond the streetwear loving gentleman, and for obvious reasons. The designer understands the human condition, one of the most important traits a great artist can have.

photos: courtesy of Purple PR