Photography: Kohl Murdock
Private versus public experiences took center stage at YTINIFNINFINITY, where models walked from one space, designed to be a nightclub, into another, the makeshift bedroom. Designer Victor Barragan further dissected public interaction by involving the digital space, streaming his entire fall ’16 presentation live on the sex webcam site, Cam4. How does confidence shift, transferring from a physical audience to an online one, and especially one where the horny anonymous congregate to watch sleazy subjects? For YTINIFNINFINITY’s models, all cast off Instagram, these public, digital performances in a staged, private space provoked some seriously bizarre antics, offering NYFW’s most dynamic DIY production thus far.
Powering down the apartment catwalk, crafted from sheets of plastic, the first model entered their “bedroom” and began writhing before a shattered mirror, strewn with lilac flowers. While this seemed like a private, selfish performance, mounted on the mirror was a subtle camera, feeding live visuals to the thirsty cam4 audience. I wondered if the people tuning in were fashion enthusiasts or just plain perverts, but this concept was undeniably exciting—a more provocative means to showcase YTINIFNINFINITY’s latest to the world. The model moved toward a laptop, slowly slipping off their top and type-flirting with viewers, before returning back to the club and allowing the next in line to have a solo, sultry performance.
There was a certain unrehearsed interactivity between models throughout the show. One emerged in a grey hoodie, taking monstrous bites of a deli croissant and dabbing the corners of their mouth for cam4; another followed, sipping from a cheap, plastic cup and violently spitting at their reflection in the mirror. After taking a few selfies, they exited and another entered, their dangling earrings crafted from sliced lemons accidentally falling to the floor. The next came through, lips pursed and eyes ambivalent, before picking up the lost lemon and eating it, spreading vaseline across their lips and body, and crushing the remnants of that half-eaten croissant into their crotch.
While creating an immersive experience to complement the clothing is important in contemporary fashion, YTINIFNINFINITY’s lineup this season wasn’t at all overshadowed, only enhanced. After the show, Barragan told us he challenged himself to incorporate knitwear this season, also playing more with slim silhouettes that celebrate shape and skin. Velvet, nipple-baring leotards with elongated sleeves and a surprisingly demure navy dress introduced a new chapter for the New York-based designer, though standard Barragan aesthetics were still present, including his classic distressed brown leather, appearing as a pant and jackets—one worn upside-down as a modified skirt.
Barragan doesn’t seem to be working toward a cohesive look, as much as he’s rejecting the confines of adhering to one focused identity. The clothes are neither male nor female, masculine nor feminine, polished nor punk; he’s created a lawless world that exists on and offline, and equally informed by both social scenarios. All sexual, genderful expressions are welcomed, concepts never feel overwrought and marketability takes a backseat for pure, uncensored performance—a much-needed presence during one of the most capitalist weeks of every year.