Imitation of Christ, spring 2024 performance.
Since its founding as an art collective in 2000, Imitation of Christ has always been simultaneously working in two opposing directions, destroying established systems while resurrecting materials. “It’s a trifecta, it’s a triple threat: environmental activism, art, and fashion,” said Subkoff of the brand on a call. This season a fourth element was added in the petitioning for peace. The designer’s goal was to use her platform “to show an example of tolerance and peaceful acceptance. If we can show examples of this,” she continued, “and have that reverberate and extend outwards and other people imitate this and do this, I really hope that we can help.”
This isn’t the first time that Subkoff has played with the idea of simultaneity (see spring 2021) or introduced religious elements into her work; a Tibetan monk participated in the spring 2022 presentation and the brand’s first show in New York for spring 2001 took place in a funeral home. This collection, like many for spring 2024, contained many shrouded looks. At IOC the reference was specifically to that early outing, as seen from a distance of decades. “I’m starting with a bit of an ode to the funeral show, but I really feel it is a time of mourning, and I also feel differently than I did when I was 26,” Subkoff said. Having survived a brain tumor, the designer describes herself as being on a spiritual path. “I really do feel that even having a child on this planet, it’s so important to have hope. And it’s so important to inspire that hope in each other. To me, it can’t be a gothic kind of moment where it’s just nihilistic.” Indeed, the number of light- and brightly-colored looks far outnumbered the black ones. Stylist B. Akerlund added floral accents as an “infusion of vitality.”
Imitation of Christ opened LA Fashion Week with a performance piece at The Hole Gallery in Hollywood. There, representatives of five faiths gave blessings while models moved to choreography set by designer Tara Subkoff and dancer Lauren Cannon. Removing the barrier between backstage and front of house, atelier and public space, styling and clothes-making were done in the open at the same time. The designer continued her practice of working collaboratively with young creatives, this time around they included Nolan Gross, Izzy Huynh, Ellen Jong, Tiffany Nguyen, Rose Ponizil, Hudson Schaetzke, Nik Van Dalen, and Galen Womack. “It went well and the audience/guests/press who came seemed genuinely moved and appreciated this experience and piece. We opened it up in the end for everyone there to participate and dance/pray/look/be…and join,” wrote Subkoff in a post-show note. “I think that part was the best, the joining. I so wish the world could join and be instead of separating, blaming, and killing. The news daily breaks our hearts.”