It would only make sense that the most recent New York Fashion Week took on a political edge.
Designers conveyed through their runway shows a message – one that embraces the beauty of womanhood, and the acceptance of all genders and races, during a time of great uncertainty.
With every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. So with every white nationalist that poses a threat to the foundations of civility and equal rights, there is a fashion designer who protests that with a killer runway show with models from 40 countries – Nepal-native, Prabal Gurung to be exact.
The opening ceremony in collaboration with Ru Paul’s Drag Race on Sept. 6 was a direct ode to gender equality. With Sasha Valour as host, attendees were greeted by 40 drag queens and LGBTQ models strutting with pride in flashy attire and makeup. Christina Aguilera punctuated the show with a surprise performance.
Rihanna showcased her groundbreaking Savage x Fenty collection, Christian Siriano placed reminders on attendee’s seats to vote for Cynthia Nixon as Democratic governor and Pyer Moss designer, Kerby Jean-Raymond, held a runway show at Weeksville, Brooklyn – one of the United States of America’s first free black communities after the abolishment of slavery.
Ralph Lauren also celebrated his 50-year anniversary at the Bethesda Fountain in Central Park with a celebrity-filled runaway including names like Kanye West, Oprah, Blake Lively and much more. Proenza Schouler returned to this year’s NYFW after a two-year hiatus in Paris with ‘90’s and early 2000s-inspired looks: think layered denim and textured all-black ensembles.
A stylish essay about race
Harper’s Bazaar regarded the Pyer Moss show as one of the most important of the week for a reason.
Designer Jean-Raymond chose Weeksville for its aforementioned historical significance to the black community. Jean-Raymond is also a native of the community. The actual show was held at the Weeksville Heritage Center, which seeks to preserve black culture.
Dark-skinned models in bold graphic prints paraded the runway. One hand-printed dress depicted a father figure holding his infant on a purple backdrop – black people partaking in everyday activities. Some graphic t-shirts read “Stop calling 911 on the culture,” and “See us now?”
Lingerie that empowers
Rihanna’s grand finale of a show featured models from all races – two were even pregnant. Her brand in itself embraces sexual liberation and women empowerment.
The focus of her show seemed to be neutral tones with a side of risk-taking. One model simply covered her nipples as she displayed Rihanna’s line of laced hosiery. One underwear set flattered an Asian model’s figure with a pastel purple bralette and matching boyshorts.
The overall show gave way to symbolic dances and theatre performances. It was something like the Victoria Secret fashion show except a wider representation of cultures, a creepier vibe and the absence of angel wings.
Even though it was after a much-needed vacation, Rihanna’s finale took NYFW by storm.