When Fear of God designer Jerry Lorenzo went to Jay-Z’s annual Academy Awards afterparty last month, he showed up in a surprisingly chill suit. On a night where many celebrities, inspired by the golden age of Hollywood, or just the cutthroat age of social media, dress in over-the-top interpretations of black tie, Lorenzo went a much simpler route, wearing a large, lapelless jacket and a trouser cut with a comfortable straight leg over a wool-silk T-shirt. This doubled as the unofficial debut of Fear of God’s latest collection, dubbed “Eternal,” unveiled earlier this month, and a reflection of Lorenzo’s approach to dressing. He calls it “smooth jazz.”
“You want to play in the background and not bother people,” Lorenzo says. And, like a great smooth jazz track, your outfit should reward someone who wants to pay closer attention. “If you hear that note that not everyone else hears”—if you appreciate the way a jacket is shaped, its fabrication, the way it drapes—“then it’s a really cool conversation,” he says. By way of explanation, Lorenzo cites an unlikely source of fashion inspiration: “I’m always,” he says, “chasing this Kenny G reference.” Is that the first time a designer on the cutting edge of cool has copped to putting legendary saxman Kenny G on their proverbial inspiration board? Probably, but that’s menswear in 2022 for you, where a designer long unjustly lumped into the streetwear category, Kenny G, and a bunch of ultra-covetable suits are all part of the same conversation.
Eternal, which arrives after two years of development, is Lorenzo’s proposition for anyone who also wants to chase Kenny G—or, perhaps more likely, who wants to take fashion advice from one of the hottest labels going. In past collections, Lorenzo explored what American archetypes like denim and workwear would look like when melded with Fear of God’s easy, athletic silhouette. These were trendy ideas, in that Lorenzo was using them to set trends. Eternal, the designer tells me via Zoom from his stark concrete studio in L.A., represents a new direction. “I think that so much of what’s created today has a timestamp of when it’s released,” he says, “and so I was really chasing this transcendence of time with each piece.”
Bottling timelessness, it turns out, is much harder than starting a trend. To do so, each piece has been stripped down to its essence, Lorenzo explains: Blazers are big and squeaky clean. Overcoats and jackets feature elegantly droopy lapels, if they have lapels at all. Trousers, rendered in cashmere and dusty suede, are cut with voluminous legs. In the lookbook, the trousers pool around the models’ slip-on sneakers and western boots, but they don’t look messy—just effortless and comfortable, like your favorite pair of vintage sweatpants. None of it seems designed for Instagram—though, of course, the clothes will look damn good there.