Kid Super's “Breathing Life into the Inanimate” collection re-debuts at Black Wall Street Gallery for NYFW '23

Posted by Stefan Henry on

When the worlds of different art practices intertwine there is often a special message to come of it. Personally, I am a lover of wearable art, framed fiber arts, when food serves a purpose beyond sustenance… arts colliding holds a warm space in my heart.

Colm Dillaine, the brain behind KidSuper (@kidsuper)  is no newbie to the realm of blending mediums. His last show, Breathing Life into the Inanimate was a melting pot of performance, art and fashion. The American Fashion house premiered an auction during Paris fashion week and on the block were original paintings the collection was birthed from. Models steadily walked down center and around the left and right wings of seats donning the pants, hats and jackets from Breathing Life into the Inanimate collection while two men stood center stage holding a large canvas to be sold. 

This past New York fashion week, NY based brand, KidSuper, showcased the collection at the Black wall Street Gallery in Chelsea. We attended the private viewing which granted us the opportunity to view the work with ample space and time. In this showcase, the looks were meticulously presented against a white wall next to it’s accompanying painting. At the top of the stairs we are met with the first KS look and it does not disappoint. In fact, the colors of the print against the colors of the fabric marry so well it’s difficult to believe it could exude any more brilliance.

I was awestruck by the translation from painting to garment. KidSuper didn't just screen print an image of the painting onto the clothes. The attention to detail in each piece was top tier. Some paintings were transformed into patches and embroidery, while others were printed solely with the mid-ground of the painting, creating a new image of the original. Some garments were donned with the facial shadows and highlights while others had the scenes knitted into the garment. The clothing became the painting with a new identity. 

Emotions were elicited! And that wasn’t the only magnetic quality of the show. The subject of the work itself spoke volumes of the designers heart and mind. The paintings, all original pieces executed by the designer, depicted a few iconic, nostalgic NYC scenes; old men sitting on fold up chairs outside the bodega, folks getting Icee’s from the iceman on the corner, subjects sitting on a front stoop and others shown what could be lovers and friends of the designers.

The accessories were nothing short of being their own art pieces as well -

Love was flowing and felt in the BSW Gallery (as is every KidSuper collection honestly) and when I met the designer the perspective was laid.

Colm is the living, breathing example of everything that was presented in this gallery. There he was standing in the middle of the gallery. His smile big. I walked over to him.

“Yo this bag is crazy” as I pointed to his harness bag shaped like an abstract gun (if the gun was made from a blow up balloon). He thanked me for the compliment and let me know it was an artist’s bag for ‘paintbrushes and stuff’. He compared it to my clutch that looked like a small animal. We both laughed.

As a fellow designer I believe in intentionality/quality > everything. There is a sea of information in the details. Dillaine is finely attuned to the importance of branding and falling short isn’t in Kid Super’s realm of options. Sponsored by Jaegermeister, the light cocktails were served in a personal bottle reminiscent of those small 200ML liquor bottles… yet another iconic item related to NYC bodega culture. Each of the 5 signature cocktails had a name you’ve never heard of and ingredients that you probably haven't tasted together either (in an alcoholic beverage that is!) mini SS23 paintings in the form of stickers graced the bottles. 

I think I might've had 4 La Casa’s they were so good.

If you were present then there was no doubt that the messages communicated through the work reflected the designers love(s), joy(s) and passion(s). The entire gallery had a unique sense of family for being in a grungy city like New York. New Yorkers get a bad rep for portraying mean, cold, standoffish, rude etc. yet “Breathing Life into the Inanimate” catalyzed a space filled with camaraderie, admiration and regard.

I said my farewells to Colm and asked him “what is the expected takeaway from the collection?”

Through a smile he goes “ahh man that’s a great question.. What did you take away from it?”

“Your love, your joy and passion. Your love for NYC culture, for people of color, your love for your family and friends, for bodega culture, for color, for genuine relationships.

Dillaine responds, “Wow you said it better than I could!”

Written By : Kai Bussant @bussant