Every front-row guest at Tome received a pink Planned Parenthood x CFDA pin; a public service message from the Guerrilla Girls, the feminist artist and activist group, and a banana on their seat. It was a cue for what lay ahead at Ryan Lobo and Ramon Martin’s fall runway show, where the duo showcased a diverse lineup packed with political messaging.
The inventive cotton shirting that opened the show, which highlighted a woman’s figure with elements of corsetry — and later, a faux-fur-accented jacket decorated with a curvy hourglass motif — set the tone. There were also slinky, color-blocked dresses featured two circles over the bust for graphic impact. “Women’s bodies are under attack,” Martin said matter-of-factly backstage. “So we put women into the clothes — literally, with outlines of different shapes — to make a visual comment about a woman’s right to choose.”
Another recent “obsession” of Lobo’s and Martin’s are the Guerilla Girls, who have been known to don gorilla masks to remain anonymous in public. That’s where the banana came in — as an homage to the group — and it manifested in the collection on a chic cropped, patent leather jacket embellished with a bundle of crystallized bananas on the back. “We were so inspired by how they can channel frustration, rage, terror, protest and agitation through humor in their work,” Martin said, citing other feminist artists, such as Dorothea Tanning, Alina Szapocznikow and Louise Bourgeois, as additional references.
The duo also recycled ideas from past collections — as in plastic coats from spring 2014 — bringing them back for fall to make a statement about sustainability and the quickness with which ideas and things are disposed. Oh, and did we mention the runway cast featured all sizes, shapes, ages and colors?
All of the messaging was a lot to take in at once, but its impact was keenly felt; some guests rose out of their seats for a standing ovation. And even without political context, Tome’s latest collection contained plenty to love, wear and keep.