"I could have gotten really serious with it, but I wanted this to be playful," Gary Graham said at Wednesday night's presentation in his Tribeca studio and boutique. Known for his cerebral backstories and research-heavy inspirations, Graham's work has always had a certain sobriety. It was a welcome change, then, to find a youthful frivolity in the styling of his latest collection and a definite lightness to the clothes. Done up in jet-black Joan Jett mullets and adorned with safety-pin necklaces, primary-colored Converse, and slouchy sport socks, Graham's models were bound for St. Mark's Place circa 1982, ready to raid the nearest record store.
Despite the lightened-up tone, this collection was as rich with fieldwork as past outings. Graham worked a classic mythology vibe, referencing Joseph Campbell's The Hero with a Thousand Faces and calling upon archetypal figures like the shepherd and the orphan to inflect his work. Sounds heavy, but the shepherd influence looked compelling in a long alpaca knit vest and fetching in a fitted brown and maroon blanket dress worn over a pair of indigo batik-print leggings. That batik print was one of the strongest in a collection full of them, all thrown together and layered willy-nilly. Like much of what was on display here, that mix felt fresh.