At New York Fashion Week: Men’s this season, there seemed to be love in the air, most notably at Raf Simons’s American debut, but even amid all that fashion fawning, sex appeal was missing, and certainly the pizzazz of a major fashion moment.
Enter Alejandro Gomez Palomo, a 24-year-old designer who debuted his lascivious namesake label, Palomo Spain, at Fashion Week on Thursday afternoon. The collection was called, “Objecto Sexual,” which translates to sexual object from the original Spanish, and was received by whoops and cheers from a front row including the model Hari Nef, singer Troye Sivan, stylist Mel Ottenberg, Kanye West collaborator Eli Russell Linnetz, and photographer Ryan McGinley. It was a tight-knit affair, literally and figuratively speaking, with McGilney’s boyfriend, Marc Armitano Domingo, and Palomo’s own boyfriend, John Tuite, also modeling in the show.
Even Malia Obama made an appearance along with her chaperone, Jenna Lyons, at the brand’s after party that night at Happy Ending. The two came from the Girls premiere and were left unbothered, according to Palomo’s boyfriend and witness.
Altogether, the Palomo Spain fall 2017 collection looked like what would happen if a young Spanish prince got into his mother, the queen’s, wardrobe. Or if a matador was feeling a bit kinky. (It also owed a major debt to the in-your-face hauteur of the the bad boys of the so-called Movida Madrileña of post-Franco Spain, like Pedro Almodovar.) The show opened with a feminine take on suiting, with ruffles, bell sleeves, and exposed shoulders. And closed with virginal boys in all white gowns and garters, plus one latex suit that resembled a bridegroom’s condom.
“It’s all the boys in the club,” said Palomo of his collection the following day. “You’ve got the dandies, the very serious, masculine guys, and then you’ve got the slutty boys in high boots.”
For his first two collections, Palomo had a much more romantic, poetic approach, but for this season he wanted to be less “beautiful” and more naughty. “It’s not this naive thing anymore,” he added of his relationship to fashion. “I wanted to go a little further to a more sexual place. It’s about trying to find your sexual self inside and exploring it. What’s the role of sex in our lives?”
Before he could answer, the tall and slender model named Pol Roig waltzed over wearing a bedazzled sequin houndstooth blazer, knee-high sliver go-go boots, and nothing else. He reached his hand into the pocket of Polomo’s pants and pulled out his iPhone. “See! This is what I’m talking about,” said Polomo, with a laugh. “We thought about putting trousers on him, but he looks better without.” And it’s true, he did. He just lacked pockets of his own.
“When you feel attracted to something, you can’t control your body,” said Polomo, who nervously stroked a rose flower while he spoke, eventually breaking its stem. “It’s like when you something really expensive and you can’t really afford it; there’s something more that’s driving you to buy it. That’s the feeling that I want to create; that sexual desire you get for clothes.”
Twenty-four hours after the show, men and women alike all wanted to get their hands on Polomo. And on Instagram, the positive feedback was equally ubiquitous. “Palomo Spain just reminded me (and likely New York City herself) that fashion is cool and beautiful and dangerous like wow,” wrote Hari Nef in her Instagram stories.
“I love New York, but it feels like there might be something missing,” said Polomo at the end of the day though. Hopefully, he can be the designer to fill that transgressive hole on the New York calendar. But if not, he’ll take his show elsewhere, as lovers always do.
Watch W magazine’s best fashion week videos, below.