Palomo Spain RTW Fall 2023 New York

What a homecoming. Alejandro Gómez Palomo made a triumphant return to New York (it was the brand’s third time showing here) with a collection called The Closet.

Because of his continuing explorations of gender and queerness, one wondered if this was a reference to coming out, but it turns out the designer had something else in mind. “I started thinking of [my experiences and those of] pretty much everyone in my community or around me,” he said at a preview.

“I think we all had this relationship with clothes when we were kids before really knowing that gender existed or that there were certain rules and norms.”

Palomo Spain

The moodboard, he said, was filled with the team’s childhood photos, and, Palomo noted, “it wasn’t really about fashion, it was more about a feeling; something that’s just intuitive.”This collection hit home, in part because it was so personal. There were pictures of Palomo “as a kid, dressed as a little woman or something—I’m like three,” he said. “But my mom really allowed me to do that, all my childhood I was playing with her clothes and wrapping a towel on my head, thinking, ‘Oh, if only I had long hair.’ I’ve been really lucky to have been educated in a way where I was able to be whomever I wanted to be, and then being able to translate that into my work.”

And so Palomo transported us back to a contained world where everything was possible, everything was soft and everything was dreamy. A world where pirates could rub shoulders with choir boys, Cinderellas hung out with the jocks, and there was room for Tudor swagger and sporty slouch.

Those glammed up track suits, the designer explained, referenced “that classic look we have when we go back home from school after gym class, the journey sitting in the back of you mom’s car: it feels homey.”

Surveying the offering, it seemed that Palomo’s dream closet was hung with vintage Balenciaga (see the pressed florals, the cocoon shape) and lots of early ’60s pieces, miniskirts and babydolls, which were worn with cuissard boots right out of a picture book. Bedtime stories were also part of Palomo’s narrative.

He ventured beyond the closet in this collection, making a stop in the bedroom, too. The models wore pillow hats, and the (striped and white) shirting, which was worn backwards, was a reference to bedclothes. Terry fabrics referenced towels.

“The whole thing is about being nice and huggable and comfortable,”

the designer said.

For all the tender sweetness and light, there were undercurrents of transgression. When asked if the fear of being caught was part of the story, Palomo said he was “after that feeling of being safe but still doing something that is somehow prohibited.”

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