Last year, Telfar Clemens announced himself as a radical when he democratized his collection. It was a risky move in an industry allergic to risky moves. This year, Clemens went bigger and bolder when his brand, TELFAR, hijacked the New Museum from the lobby to the top floor, for his highly anticipated NYFW presentation. A wax replica of Clemens—with his Richard D. James conjuring grin—greeted guests, as android voices whispered “Telfar” on loop throughout the lobby. Behind the life-size wax man stood miniature statues of every model, each donning a different look from the TELFAR F/W ’14 collection. (It was unexpectedly cute to watch the stone-faced models break character when they discovered their mini-mes.) Leather shopping bags embossed with Clemens’ label hung from what typically serves as the museum’s gift shop wall, and as we shuffled toward the elevators, we noticed the museum directory labelled each floor a different section of the collection rather than exhibition information. It was an all-out, institutional takeover.
As the elevators opened on the top floor, beanies from a collab with artist Jeanette Hayes awaited guests on the seats, and a giant reproduction of the bags downstairs served as the stage setting. Models emerged from behind the bag wearing garments typical of the brand—oversized and comfortable. Fleece and flannel dominated the collection with pullovers, headbands, and floor length dresses.
“My inspiration was based on size, scale and proportion,” Clemens told us after the show. “I was also really inspired by the holiday season. I was into people carrying paper shopping bags.”
That would explain the various sizes of his inaugural bag collection, which ranges from tiny and toy-like to large weekend bags. Featuring a very simple color palette of camel, ivory, white, navy, and burgundy, the collection is easy to match with anything. No patterns, no complex silhouettes. Just be willing to possibly drown in what you’re wearing.
Photography by Rosa Aiello