On Wednesday, Bach Mai revealed on his Instagram’s “Road to NYFW” series that a selection of his clothes, while being dyed black, had shrunk about three sizes and were unusable for his Friday night fall runway show. Mai wasn’t retreating though, and stated that over the next 48 hours, other clothes would be cut, sewn and made for the runway. Backstage on Friday, Mai earnestly spoke about the situation.
“I’m not Dior [although noting he does work with one of their same mills], I don’t have the budget, so let me show you what we did do, which was a struggle. This is the reality, and I’ve been doing this for so long, but you get used to it. However, a lot of people don’t know what it takes and what we go through to get here,” he said.
His situation is all too real, and common, for emerging designers in America; it was endearing to see him lay his cards out for the world to see while pushing through to re-finish his 35-look collection.
“But the clothes, it’s a bourgeois woman and her descent into depravity,” he said of its overarching theme, tapping into inspirations from the film “Belle du Jour,” with futurism a la Kylie Minogue’s early 2000s “Fever” era — “space strippers, but off duty.”
“It’s the idea of loucheness — a wonderful night performing, because you want to, and then throwing on a coat, putting on a pair of pants and then walking home,” he said.
The collection started in the club and flowed into “her internal monologue,” bouncing back and forth between bourgeois life (silk scarves and prints; midcentury silhouettes; ribbon motifs, embroideries and textiles) and fetish-tinged bondage styles, rich velvets, lurex, and patent leather. Mai said he really focused on ribbons throughout the lineup via basketweave prints, fringes and embroideries to tie the ideas together, best seen through look one’s oversize black coat and relaxed trousers atop a streaming ribbon halterneck.
Other stars of the lineup included a playful tinsel topcoat; skin-baring, drapey party dresses and bias slips; a polished ribbon embroidery coat; tearaway basketball shorts, and the flounced gowns and matching sets he’s becoming well-known for.
There was lots of shine, skin, prints and opulent textures — too much for one collection, even if that was the point. While it was nice to see a continued push on silhouettes beyond eveningwear, the collection lacked the cohesive restraint that set Mai’s couture-minded fashions apart.
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