With multiple projectors playing clips of models holding signs like, “Everybody’s life is better than yours,” “Choose your filter,” “This fashion is for real,” and, “If in doubt, check Instagram,” the crowd walked into Kenneth Cole‘s NYFW show at “The Garage” already catching on to his fall 2014 theme: the discussion of truth versus deception amidst a culture in which reality is often muddled in social media.
This specific type of engagement makes sense coming from Cole, a designer who has been tangled up in failings via Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram more than once. In 2011, there was the “Egypt uproar” joke from his PR company that went horribly wrong, and then the insensitive tweet about the Syrian conflict in 2013. Furthermore, this was an audience who understood the concept of false realities via social media–the whole room was tied to their individual phones checking their own accounts, after all.
To really get into the idea of “truth” versus “facade” on social media, Cole kicked things off by then playing a video that exemplified the question he was asking: “What’s for real, and what’s for show?” The short film, starring Rachel Dratch and Alan Cumming, featured the two actors relaxing at home, but engaged in a social media war with one another in an attempt to show the other up. For example, Cumming Instagrams a photo of his face photoshopped onto an impressively buff body, and then Dratch suggests she’s having the time of her life abroad in Paris in a tweet. Cumming ends the battle by messaging her, “Is anything real anymore?”
Dratch and Cumming have teamed up for their fashionable friend before, last time for Cole’s Sundance debut. The mini movie, titled “Heroes Don’t Wear Capes,” came out January 23rd. During the fashion show’s finale, the two funny friends reunited once again, walking out from backstage and down the runway as a surprise for the crowd. Fittingly, they each held a sign: Dratch’s read “For real,” and Cumming’s, “For show.”