On Feb. 13, Pyer Moss designer Kerby Jean-Raymond will present his Fall/Winter 2016 collection during New York Fashion Week. But it won't be your typical show: The collection will be styled by musician Erykah Badu.
According to Jean-Raymond, he's wanted to collaborate with Erykah since his Fall/Winter 2015 collection, but couldn't connect the dots then. "It was something that I always wanted," he tells Complex. The two finally came together after one of Kerby's friends, who was working with Erykah at the time, made the introduction.
"I heard Kerby had been wanting to meet up with me creatively for a while," says Erykah, who's a fan of Pyer Moss and often wears the label. "A mutual friend pulled clothes for me for the last set of interviews I did. The Pyer Moss clothes were standouts. I wore them and loved them so much that I wanted to take them home with me." It was then that she learned Kerby had big plans for collaborating with her. "I got a call and I thought it was about returning the clothes, but instead my friend came with the message that Kerby wanted to work with me on his next show," she explains. "I was overwhelmed and ecstatic about it, because I'd become a huge fan of his stuff."
Kerby has become known for sending powerful messages through his clothing designs and presentations. Last season he brought the Black Lives Matter movement to New York Fashion Week, showing a short film that featured footage of black people killed by police. The collection included blood-splattered footwear and clothes with Eric Garner's last words—"I can't breathe"—written on them.
The Fall/Winter 2016 collection will explore a new idea. "We're focusing more on the human condition and topics like depression," says Kerby. "It's a really human take on something most people find to be taboo."
"He's dealing with something really important—depression," adds Erykah. "He wants to deal with the human experience of depression; just our emotions as we go through life. We kinda suppress the conversation and the idea so much, and I think it's really fascinating that he would incorporate that into his story this season."
Erykah, who's worked with Kerby on the collection from the jump, says she's nervous about styling the show—but only because "you're going into something unknown." But, she adds, "I'm excited about what we'll do together. It's great to see another artist work from inception to creativity and be invited to be a part of it. As an artist, I generally work alone, so it's almost like Picasso inviting Monet over to his house to help him add a little blue or green. You're kinda reluctant to do too much or too little, but there's that joy of helping him see his vision through."