Hot Pursuit

Photographs by Debbie Jean Lemonte

On Thursday, September 5, the opening day of New York Fashion Week, digital queer style magazine dapperQ provided an alternative to the traditional binary men’s/ women’s shows with a queer fashion show featuring 10 designers, 70+ models at Brooklyn Museum.

The show, titled Pursuit, drew over 2000 in attendance—the largest New York Fashion Week (NYFW) runway event showcasing queer style. High profile models joined the lineup including Zach Barack (Marvel’s first openly transgender actor), Jason A. Rodriguez (Lemar Wintour on Pose), and Alysse Dalessandro (body activist) to name a few.

The stage was one of the most diverse NYFW runways ever. “We meticulously selected our designers to reflect the diversity of fashion that we have evolved to celebrate, moving beyond masculinity as the most prominent way of expressing queerness through fashion to celebrating the range of feminine to masculine and everything in between and outside of that represents our rich communities,” dapperQ owner Anita Dolce Vita said.

Regular Pose cast member B. Hawk Snipes kicked off the evening’s festivities as the show’s official host, and queer fashion celebrities such as Hester Sunshine of Project Runway, Season 17 sat in front row.

Pursuit’s theme mirrored the Museum’s Pierre Cardin: Pursuit of the Future exhibit as part of the Museum’s year-long Stonewall installation.

“We were extremely honoured to work with Brooklyn Museum for the sixth consecutive year to create a platform that celebrates queer bodies and queer style. LGBTQ and POC communities have a rich legacy of being creative visionaries in beauty and fashion, but our ideas are often co-opted without any credit or visibility.

Pursuit is for us and by us, bringing our talents, bodies, innovations, and voices to the forefront under one roof in Brooklyn Museum’s 10,000 square foot, artfully designed Beaux Arts Court.”

The all-queer dapperQ production team also noted that their annual NYFW show, which was sponsored by gender-neutral underwear label TomboyX—while helping to set a new industry standard for diversity, inclusion, and fashion as activism—is part of a longer history of queer fashion in New York extending back to 1980s ball culture.

This year’s featured designers were: Cilium, Claire Fleury, Devon Yan, HALZ, Landeros New York, Shane Ave, Sharpe Suiting x Goorin Bros., Stuzo Clothing, Travis Oestreich, and TomboyX.