Aurora James, the designer of Brother Vellies and Kerby Jean-Raymond, the founder and creative director of Pyer Moss, have known each other for years and while vacationing in Bermuda, they began designing for their collaboration. James designed the shoes for Jean-Raymond’s Collection 3 which was shown during New York Fashion Week Spring 2020 and was the final part of Jean-Raymond’s collection “American Also” fashion show trilogy.
The fashion shows represented Black women in pop culture, specifically across music genres and generations. The models celebrated these women by wearing bolero jackets, wide-leg pants, ethereal gowns, and rhinestone-detailed looks, but it was the shoes that made the statement.
James’ designs showcased Black women in music with thigh-high heels and ankle-height cowboys boots in shades of black, white, and neon pink. One pair of boots had a painting by artist Richard Phillips which featured Sister Rosetta Tharpe, the Black woman who invented rock-n-roll.
“Collection 3 was partly inspired by Sister Rosetta Tharpe and other Black women in music, so honoring their contributions by collaborating with Brother Vellies felt like home,” Jean-Raymond told Vogue.
One of the best pieces in the collection, which happens to also be one of James’ favorite is the Swarovski crystal-embellished boots, took around 118 hours of handwork.