Nick Graham

For people of a certain age (mine specifically, but Millenials in general), there are a few cultural touchstones for which they hold an almost otherworldly sense of reverence, touchstones that manage to stir up comfortable memories of the 90s’ comparative simplicity when considered against the geopolitical tumult of the present. In an age of nostalgia perpetuated by technology, many of these have seen a surge in popularity that would never be possible in a different time–Bill Nye is one of them. Bill Nye, who is most fondly remembered for his work on the Disney-produced TV series Bill Nye The Science Guy, was front and center at Nick Graham’s Fall 2017 presentation at the airy Skylight Clarkson Studios on Manhattan’s far west side.

photography by carolyne teston

The title of the show was Life on Mars: Fall-Winter 2035 with outer space, science and adventure being prominent themes. The background of the show space was animated with sharp projects of our galaxy that eventually focused on the iron-stained surface of Mars as Nye introduced an astrology lesson far more engaging than most have ever had. Aside from his science background, Nye’s presence was fueled by an ongoing collaboration with Graham on a line of bow ties, the prim, colorful kind that are a Nye signature.

But Nye wasn’t the only icon to walk the length of the runway. Sporting a reflective silver jacket, matching shoes and black trousers, legendary astronaut Buzz Aldrin took part. Though he recently turned 87, Aldrin traversed the stage with the bravado of someone who’s felt moon soil beneath his feet. “The world is a fashion show,” Aldrin said.

“Both of them have had an enormous impact on our understanding of science and space,” said Graham. “To work with them on the Mars show is so exciting. And besides, Mars is the new black.” Later, Graham added, “I think science is the most important things we need to understand in society, especially these days. Today it’s a science class that happens to a fashion show.”

As the models emerged, each was draped in the kind of sporty, irreverent clothes Graham has made since launching his own label in 2014. Though they weren’t new in any regard, it was refreshing to see someone bring a sense of fun to his work, something desperately missing from fashion at the moment.

Once the show wrapped, all of the models dispersed throughout the venue to assigned stations so those in attendance could examine the collection up close. At least, that was the plan. But Graham, Aldrin and Nye stood together on a central elevated platform where people rushed creating a sea of camera flashes and excited shouts. I couldn’t help but smile as I looked around and saw the manicured models standing in formation. Usually the center of attention, they faded into the background as the stars ascended onto the stage. And they knew it.

written by martin lerma