Threeasfour's Spring runway show took place in a room at the Jewish Museum on New York's Upper East Side, where the design trio is staging an exhibition opening September 15. The multimedia show, titled Mer Ka Ba, is an attempt to promote "cross-cultural unity" among religions, particularly Islam, Judaism, and Christianity. Gabriel Asfour was born in Lebanon but has Palestinian roots. Angela Donhauser was born in Tajikistan, and Adi Gil in Israel—their disparate backgrounds consistently inform the work they do together. "We want to inspire others to do the same," explained Gil the day before the show.
For the exhibit itself, Threeasfour worked with architect Christian Wassmann to create a temple made to look like a 3-D six-point star. Video projections of the five platonic solids, created by animator Alex Czetwertynski, dot the exterior of the installation. "We were fascinated by the geometry of the different tiling systems in mosques, churches, and synagogues," Gil said. "They actually make a lot of sense next to each other, so we chose to mix them together—it's a way to create and express unity."
Looks from the Spring collection will also be displayed during the five-month museum show, and they reflect the unification idea through and through. The first number, a short dress with puffed sleeves that looked like molded butterfly wings, featured the three tiling systems laser-cut into white and off-white silk, layered upon each other to create an almost-3-D effect.
Other pieces were truly three-dimensional: The designers worked with another architect, Bradley Rothenberg, to design 3-D textiles in ivory resin. These two showpieces were even more sculptural than Threeasfour's typical work. The finale, a white minidress, was adorned with those five platonic solids: Cubes and octahedrons sprouted from the fabric.
Instead of creating shoes, the designers made weblike covers out of the same resin, further unifying the collection. But while every detail was quite obviously belabored over to create a successful, cohesive runway show, what the designers seemed most excited about was the fact that other people—not just fashion's elite—would be able to see the collection up close. "A runway show is only fifteen minutes," said Gil. "This time, everyone who comes into the museum can spend as much time with it as they want."