Harold Waight’s “Cocaine” show presented wearable clothing in a dark, dangerous and provocative way.
An angel dressed in white opened Harold Waight’s “Cocaine” SS17 fashion show in Brooklyn, New York on Oct. 23, 2016. A sleeveless white jumpsuit clung to the angel’s body as the angel stalked the stage like a tiger. The angel waved the jumpsuit’s train like a matador attracting a bull. The angel danced a solo pasodoble with their metallic silver pumps glistening like a cocaine mirror. The white powder smeared on the angel’s face served as the icing on the cake. The angel was named Rovin Sena.
As the saying goes, where angels go, trouble follows.
Inside the art gallery I.M.A.G.E Gallery, the models walked fiercely down the U-shaped runway in clothing that mixed black, silver and white. House music filled the intimate room with soul-stirring energy that could make the guests walk out with confidence they didn’t know they had. Ironically, a female guest wore a sleeveless white jumpsuit that clung to her body in the same way that the angel’s jumpsuit fit at the start of the show. Was this coincidence? Maybe.
The designer of the “Cocaine” collection, Harold Waight, explained the opening film that featured a mix of chokers, safari bucket hats, netted mesh shirts and leather.
“The name of the show is ‘Cocaine’ and it’s an addictive drug and so is fashion to me. That’s why the title of my movie [played at beginning of show] is ‘Fashion is a drug,” said Waight.
When asked about the provocative makeup, Waight said, “the silver paint is supposed to represent the cocaine itself. The models were addicts and they were wearing it [the drug]”
The metallic silver sequined bustiers and bucket hats shined as accessories, but the true ready-to-wear pieces within the collection touched on Hollywood’s Golden Age. It showed up in the PVC hooded cloak on a model named Ruth Joanis that resembled the cloak Kim Basinger wore in L.A. Confidential (1997). Then a white heart graphic sweat top made a statement that looked like a fractured heart. Harold Waight accessorized the sweat top with a double-strand pearl necklace and Old Hollywood studded earrings that emanated glamour and the festive 1920s.
Finally, the piece de resistance was the little black dress with an X-shaped leather fringe front that simultaneously brought to mind Old Western saloons and lavish Great Gatsby parties. The model Ozichi Ugwumadu wore patent leather ankle-strap pumps, solidifying the 1920s influence.
Other pieces clearly could be worn in everyday life. Male model, Christian DeFranco, wore a pewter-gray duster and a midriff-baring top, but a man or woman could wear the duster casually around the house or for errands on a breezy day. Similarly, the netted mesh poncho lent itself to throwing over an outfit.
The show offered a good amount of ready-to-wear clothing in a provocative way. It felt distinctively New York City harkening back to the days of the early ’90s. The experience won’t leave my mind for a long time, if ever.