Style & Fashion

New York Fashion Week

New York Fashion Week Reviews: Chromat

The Daily Beast

February 11, 2017

There it was at the end, very loud and clear as a very pissed bell: the rapper Tt the Artist intoning over and over, angrily, “Fuck Donald Trump, Who Donald Trump, Fuck Donald Trump.”

The politics were no surprise, but they were—as of Friday—the most profanely and passionately voiced during New York Fashion Week so far.

There have been white bandanas worn around necks and pink Planned Parenthood pins left on front rows bearing the statement, “Fashion Stands With Planned Parenthood,” but nothing yet as overtly stated as Chromat’s denunciation of the current president. If you are cynical about these things this was pure posing. But Chromat’s sounded honestly felt.

The response of the fashion crowd to this invective? There was no fist-pumping, or cheers. They milled about and left peaceably.

One beautiful, tall woman allowed herself a mini-bop to the beat and that was that. If you were hoping for a mini-women’s march and shout-a-long, then sorry: no shakes.

When the rapper UNIIQU3 first appeared at the beginning of the show, the rap was as pure a celebration of Chromat as Tt the Artist’s closing rap was a condemnation of Trump, and for this mini pre-show she was accompanied by dancers Deadly Dose and Blue, leaping and stretching about.

On the benches was a statement from Chromat’s CEO Becca McCharen-Tran: “There is a feeling of paranoia, the end of truth and the dawning of a new era of persecution of the ‘other’ in the current political climate. We know that no one is entitled to a happy ending, and this has further strengthened our drive to fight for the inclusive and empowering world we want to see.”

It was refreshing to read political views so keenly felt and plainly stated, and on the runway the politics continued, with a mixture of models of different sizes, proudly walking the walk, and wearing a stunning array of swimwear with bomber jackets, nifty jerkins, and filmy shirts, all perfect encapsulations of how McCharen-Tran seeks to dress the body as if “a building site”. “Great swim design complements and follows the natural style lines of the body instead of fighting against them,” she told The 405 last month. “And we are obsessed with finding the right fit for all sizes.”

The brightly-colored swimsuits and active-wear came accessorized with inflatables, sometimes worn over the shoulder, sometimes as a jacket, and eventually moulded into garments in their own right—a sarong, for example, and a final showstopper of a ballgown, with Chromat’s name boldly stated across it. The drama and spectacle of the show was not new for Chromat, but the overt politicking was.

Chromat’s statement read that the company had collaborated with outdoors company Klymit “to design inflatable garments that aid with internal buoyancy and help the wearer stay afloat and protected.”

A show spokesperson did not return a Daily Beast enquiry whether this too was a political statement, referring to, or thematically echoing at least the appalling images of drowning refugees. But given the bold statement of the rest of the collection—and the clothes that comprised it—it would not be a wild extrapolation.