Fall marked Custo Barcelona’s 20th anniversary at New York Fashion Week, a dubious benchmark to call out in show notes, but still an occasion that summoned the goodwill inclination to find something nice to say about the lineup. That would be a journalistic injustice. The show’s absence of basic aesthetic appeal forced one to wonder if Custo Dalmau designs from a separatist colony of techno-bohemian backwater Euro gypsies.
The models wore oversize, square plastic retro sunglasses, with women in short plastic cutout skirts and strange blouses, and men in bedazzled bomber jackets and track pants. The brand is known for its psychedelic palette, but the collection, titled “Reborn,” introduced a new focus on black. Yet even the most forgiving color could not begin to mask fabrics so synthetic-looking they practically issued a second-hand chemical high. The whole collection was unpassable.