If you don’t know what a fashion performance is, perhaps you’ll be seeing more of them in the future. With a heavy focus on both men’s and womenswear designs, Elias Gurrola’s “Creep” is a whirlwind of emotion that pulls from an autobiographical story of the feeling of isolation and limitation one can feel in daily life. Featuring the Dance Theatre of Harlem, the dancers act as models and performers, pulling us deeper into the mood of this story. Elias’s voice is played on the speaker along with sound effects, talking about meeting a girl while feeling very lonely in his own mind. This storytelling complements the clothing, which develops from being mostly sportswear pieces to RTW items.
In the first half of the piece the performers are seen walking with the pace of a funeral march and occasionally breaking into mini dance solos. The sportswear pieces (leggings and a series of bodysuits) have a slight feel of bondage, with crisscross lines, harnesses, and thick straps. There is not a lot of experimentation with patterns, only with stripes that begin and end with one another, lending more to the feeling of being trapped inside/ by oneself. The second half of the show develops further into character with purposeful movement and expressive silhouettes, the opening piece being a white bodysuit with a layered white tulle skirt. Some other noteworthy pieces were the deconstructed men’s denim crop top and a powder blue bodysuit with thigh high cutout leggings.
The designs overall represented a very different category of clothing, but the cohesive story of the garments was told spectacularly. Gurrola’s presentation was not costume design, where the pieces are supposed to complement the script without distracting from the story. Models were asked to do more than walk, but to also dance – to give emotional weight and new dimensions to clothing than is typically viewed. The audience was given the chance to experience a relatable emotional sensation with the performers and the designer, instead of just being transported to the conceptual theme that the designer was exhibiting. Through this fashion performance, Gurrola has successfully blurred the lines between what is and what isn’t an “acceptable” fashion presentation and involved us all in the process. He has given us something new, that is able to pull us into his designs even deeper. Using fashion as the base, he clearly allowed his ideas to blossom, to become something that will more than likely be seen increasingly in the fashion world in the years to come.