Fashion innovator Stevie Boi, the designer behind Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face” headpiece and “Judas” shades, launched his new collection Sunday at New York Fashion Week. The title and theme of the show was “Noir,” and Boi utilized models from the LGBTQ community to showcase the all black collection.
Three of the models to strut the runway for Boi’s show are openly transgender: Dominique Jackson, Claudia Charriez and Rain. The trio are all represented by Slay Model Management, which focuses on trans representation.
“Trans models have always been around, and now there’s a draw to us,” Jackson told NBC Out, noting that she now feels more “comfortable” at casting calls and fashion shows.
Jackson and fellow model Charriez, who in 2006 was disqualified from “America’s Next Top Model” because she was assigned male at birth, both noted that “mainstream” culture is finally embracing the transgender community -- and trans culture.
“A lot of popular culture gets their things from our community. Words like ‘shade,’ ‘slay,’ ‘beat.’ A lot of that came from us,” Charriez said. Boi’s show, for example, opened with one of the models vogueing, a dance that traces its roots back to the underground LGBTQ ballroom scene.
But while pop culture may be a more inclusive place for the trans community, Charriez expressed concerns about the current political environment.
“I feel I didn’t appreciate the progress we made. I have a newfound appreciation for all the work that happened under Obama. I appreciate Laverne Cox, Janet Mock and Caitlyn Jenner,” she said.
Charriez added that she hopes she, Jackson and other transgender people in the spotlight can be a beacon of hope for the next generation. She also thanked Boi for enabling them to “feel at home” at the high-profile New York Fashion Week event and for making it his “purpose and his goal” to advance inclusivity for the LGBTQ community.
“He’s never denied who he is. He is one of us and it speaks great volume to his character,” Jackson added.
The title and theme of Boi's show, “Noir,” was also meant to send a message. “I wanted something simple. Noir means black, and I’m using the word black subliminally,” he said, adding that during this current environment he will “not be silenced.”
Among the VIPs in attendance at Boi’s show was Beyoncé’s stylist, Tyrone Hunter. Amidst the flashing of camera lights and sea of selfie-takers, he told NBC Out he “loved” what he experienced.
As for Boi, he’s “happy” about how his New York Fashion Week show turned out. “Now I’m focused on Paris,” he added. Hopes are high that his European show will be just as trans-inclusive.