The Velvet Underground's Heroin is a perversely gorgeous celebration of nothingness, the wickedest "why?" in pop. So its choice as the soundtrack for Tony Melillo's debut runway presentation inevitably sparked other questions. Why, for example, would Melillo, a much-loved fixture on the New York fashion scene (if the turnout of high-octane supporters was any indication), choose to take such a big step in his career with a collection so minimal to the point of nothingness? Or was nothingness actually the point? When the music cut out for a while, it could almost have been deliberateenjoy the silence.
Melillo dressed his show with a hymn of praise to "hybrids," men whose personal style is so acute they can transmogrify the most basic classic with an effortless touch or two. And they'd need that magic touch with items this subdued: a black jacket with matching shorts, a cardigan, Bermudas, a zipped hoodie, drawstring pants, a single-buttoned blazer. The outfits had a slack feel that suggested students sharing clothes. A white T-shirt and black pants? How's that for a fashion critique of the essential banality of the human condition? The "hybrid" theme was tentatively present in combos like a gabardine blazer and bike shorts that might have been black velveteen (would that it were so), but in the end, it was all so curiously low-key that, with the Velvets fading away into the ether, one couldn't help but return to their original question.