Conga drums reverberated through the room as an epilogue to Theophilio's Spring 2023 "Homecoming" runway. They transported attendees far from the New York City sounds of relentless car horns before the show opened with a colorful ensemble: a satiny, sky-blue shirt paired with a daisy-yellow miniskirt.
The music intensified as models walked fiercely in colors and fabrics that were anything but dull. The next look was a shiny leopard jacket with snakeskin pants. In his second New York Fashion Week presentation, the Brooklyn-based designer and CFDA's 2021 Emerging Designer of the Year Edvin Thompson toyed with color, texture, iconography and silhouette. The result is incredibly generative.
Thompson tells a story of place and time.
Beyond their allure, the looks feel new and dynamic. Theophilio debuted a two-colored, silhouette-altering leather pant in green, red and yellow, the colors of Jamaica. Cropped, rhinestone-embellished "I <3 TP" shirts dazzled down the runway, reminiscent of city feels and the iconic "New York" version. Ruffle details on jeans animated a walk. Oversized suit sets brought drama. A bikini top and regal headpiece, inspired by the West Indian carnival celebration J'ouvert, garnered unyielding attention, gasps and applause.
The show didn't just transport its viewers visually and sonically, but also temporally. The peculiar newsboy hats – enlarged, reimagined in unexpected colors and worn in different directions — caught my eyes and are still on my mind as a must-have for next spring. Miniskirts, sequins and graphic tees took us back to the 2000s, perfectly aligned with the recent Y2K trend resurgence.
"There's a big trend of Y2K fashion right now, but I think it's also because that time was full of creatives, and I'm just happy to be part of that coming back," he said in an interview with Vogue. "It's New York bringing that back; that energy has to be lasting and filling."
When he won the CFDA Award, Thompson gave a speech saying he was "speaking to you all as still this young boy from the dirt roads, blue lagoons, sunny skies and yard food — Kingston, Jamaica." From the first look to the closing one, the colors of home and this essence is infused in the Spring 2023 collection.
Crafted in honor of his roots, sending a love letter to Jamaica and to the aesthetic of two decades ago, Theophilio's Spring 2023 offering is true to the designer's language while coining motifs and ramping up opulence. As one of New York's buzziest fashion design talents, we are not alone in our excitement for whatever fiery collection comes next from him.
See the full Theophilio Spring 2023 collection in the gallery below.