IRVINGTON, N.Y. — It was a glorious setting for a buzzy fashion show: the lawn outside a 34-room, columned Italianate mansion in Irvington, New York, 30 miles from New York City. But Mother Nature had other plans.
Heavy thunderstorms that had guests scurrying to take cover wherever they could find shelter ultimately forced the cancellation Thursday of the Pyer Moss collection by Kerby Jean-Raymond, which now will be shown on Saturday.
The thunder, lightning and heavy rain started almost immediately after guests arrived for the 2p.m. show, in cars from the city or large shuttle buses. The circular runway quickly became dangerously wet for the models.
There were several hopeful false starts, as organizers tried to take advantage of brief spells in the storm — but the rain kept coming back. At one point, Jean-Raymond came out to address the crowd, saying it wasn’t safe yet to send out the models, but urging people to stay.
Finally, at just past 5 p.m., organizers bowed to the inevitable and postponed the show until Saturday — same setting.
It promised to be a special show: the debut couture collection for Jean-Raymond, the first Black American designer asked to join the couture calendar. The show was being livestreamed as part of Paris Couture Week.
And it was a meaningful setting: Villa Lewaro, the 1918 estate of Madam C.J. Walker, the Black entrepreneur, activist, hair-care magnate and one of the wealthiest self-made women in America.
“Madam C.J. Walker’s wealth was more than money,” Jean-Raymond wrote in the show notes. “Black prosperity begins in the mind, in the spirit and in each other. She knew that no dollar amount could ever satisfy the price tag of freedom — that green sheets of paper & copper coins could never mend souls, heal hearts or undo the evil we’ve endured.”