If you haven't attended a Threeasfour show in a few seasons, it's easy to forget how brainy and beautiful their art project-cum-fashion productions can be. "Alchemy," Gabi Asfour said pithily backstage before the show, when asked about inspiration.
As the lights went down, green lasers shot across the floor and the models filed out, placing themselves around the bronze, gold, and silver alchemical star painted in the center of the runway. As each left the circle, took a turn on the catwalk, and returned, the group steadily orbited, offering showgoers a chance to examine each look.
Certainly these merited a moment of observation. The collection tracked the seven metals of alchemy, which in sartorial form meant going from black (lead) through a variety of metallics and ending, of course, in gold. The first two in black—a dramatically collared wool and leather coat, and a leather jacket with a curved zip, paired with leather pants—were the most readily commercial.
From there, nearly every look started with spandex tights or a unitard inset with curving panels of mesh. One was topped with a dark, tubelike rope twisted flat against the body in brain-matter-shaped curlicues; another, with a sculpted braided rope the color of a new penny. There was also a blue metallic leather dress with a flared skirt; a cutout top that asymmetrically traced the body's structure; and a black silk top that seemed to be blooming bright silver bugle beads like mold. The culmination was a gold jacket and pants, not unlike the earlier leather version.
It was a terrific vision, even if its retail-ready charms weren't immediately apparent. Still, Asfour and his fellow designers, Angela Donhauser and Adi Gil, have a modern form of communication in their sights that could help with that: a Web site where they can sell everything from accessories and T-shirts to their more elaborate couture and, of course, whatever else this trio dreams up.