After staging a guerrilla-style show in Paris, Rio Uribe was back on familiar soil for Fall. The homecoming was undoubtedly a highly anticipated event for his New York inner circle and his supporters in the fashion community at large. The designer was visibly energized at the prospect of reconnecting with the vibrancy of the city. “I usually work with a colorful palette, but New York was the inspiration this season and that called for black and white,” said Uribe backstage after the show. “We’re in a polarizing moment where everything is black or white, or even black versus white. I want us to break out of that narrative.”
If one had to attribute the energy in the room to a color palette, it would ostensibly be a glorious riot of rainbow hues. Uribe has always made his shows friends-and-family affairs. This afternoon, his cast was a mix of old and new characters, including singer-songwriter Shamir Bailey, British trans activist Munroe Bergdorf, and 10-year-old self-described “kinder drag star” Desmond Is Amazing. Uribe has made his brand a safe zone for personal expression and body positivity, and each and every man, woman, nonbinary person, and child who came marching down the runway today did so with a joyous sense of exuberance and pride.
The clothes did more than just buoy the mood, too. Uribe has gone from strength to strength with his design smarts, and he reached new heights of ingenuity with his DIY aesthetic for Spring. He gave the everything-but-the-kitchen-sink approach to fashion new meaning this evening, incorporating unexpected found objects into his bag of tricks—think: plastic toy-soldier embellishments, shorn-off soda cans, plastic-fork button closures, and his grandmother’s hand-crocheted doilies. On the flip side of that homespun aesthetic was a surprisingly considered kind of tailoring. For example, Desmond (the littlest runway star) wore an Elizabethan-style ruff and corseted suit that seemed to be cut to fit his tiny frame with lilliputian precision. Ditto for the back-to-front, inside-out, Edward Scissorhands blazers, cargo pants, and deconstructed denim skirts.
Uribe’s gorgeous and confident troupe of rabble-rousers lifted the gloom on what was a dreary day in Manhattan. But more than that, they pointed toward a brighter future for the fashion world, one in which inclusion, diversity, and acceptance are not just boxes to be checked off a to-do list but an invigorating source of inspiration. - Chioma Nnadi for VOGUE Runway.