“There were several moments in the process of making this when I had to walk off set.”
An eight-minute film collaboration between New York brand Pyer Moss and Canadian filmmaker Director X captures the ache of losing someone and learning to live without them. The short film, titled Seven Mothers, is an extension of Kerby Jean-Raymond’s Spring 2019 collection for Pyer Moss, which he showed in New York last September.
For the show, he took attendees to Weeksville, a neighbourhood in Brooklyn that became one of America’s first free-black communities in 1838, over a decade after slavery was abolished in the country. Much like Schitt’s Creek imagines a world without homophobia, Jean-Raymond—a Haitian-American—began fantasizing about a world in which racism didn’t exist. What would his community look like then? How would their day go? “Just black people doing normal things,” became the basis of Jean-Raymond’s Spring collection, featuring the work of artist Derrick Adams. Dresses, billowy shirts and breezy trousers came down the runway emblazoned in moving images of everyday life: a black man holding his infant child, a father and son barbecuing, the faces of a flower girl and page boy at a wedding.
The desire to create more imagery around the black family led to Jean-Raymond enlisting Director X, the man behind the hit music videos for Hotline Bling, Work and Black Widow, for a short film. The director urged Jean-Raymond to tell a more personal, specific story—the loss of his mother at the age of 7—that would reverberate on a universal level.
“For those who have lost a loved [one] in ways that seemed unfair or too soon this film is for you,” Director X wrote on Instagram when the short film premiered in New York at the launch party for Jean-Raymond’s second collaboration with Reebok. Jean-Raymond, who was raised by a network of loving black women after his mother’s death, reflected on the spirit of community and love and shared responsibility that defined his upbringing, and Director X brought it to life with a moving film sure to leave you with a lump in your throat. “There were several moments in the process of making this when I had to walk off set. Revisiting some of those episodes was tough; I was outside of my comfort zone,” Jean-Raymond tells Vogue. “But I know how important it is to tell these stories about our community, stories that [are] for us, by us. They matter more than anything.”
You can watch the full film below or at PyerMoss.com.