With Kenneth Nicholson, Chromat, and Wiederhoeft, New York Fashion Week’s Movies Get Real, and Unreal

With Kenneth Nicholson, Chromat, and Wiederhoeft, New York Fashion Week’s Movies Get Real, and Unreal

Kenneth Nicholson

Freed from the New York Fashion Week runway, designers like Kenneth Nicholson are reveling instead in forms like filmmaking. Grasp, an excellent short film he co-directed with Stefan Colson, introduces us to David (Dorion Wordlaw), who wakes up in his Los Angeles apartment after dreaming of himself as a small boy at church. That little Black boy spies a young white girl in a lemon-colored dress opposite him, and then imagines himself in the same pretty dress.

As an adult, he takes a walk in sun-dappled streets, and then takes tea—and we see him encounter a range of people wearing Nicholson’s beautiful clothes, which are as free in their use of color and structure as they are in their easy shucking off of gender rigidity: a panoply of florals, flares, intricate patterning, and gorgeous silhouettes.

A sequence involving Harper Watters, a soloist for the Houston Ballet, underlines the short film’s focus on the importance of art and beauty, even as the discontents of toxic masculinity stain all our worlds. The film does not forget about that little boy, who—despite being cautioned to be a proper man—grew up to be someone like David who not only enjoys art and beauty and wears it so handsomely, and also to be someone like Nicholson himself, who revels in sharing it with us through his clothes, and now this wonderful short film. Tim Teeman



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