New York: Clash of the parties
The clothes came in a distant second this weekend in New York as brands competed for attention with their parties rather than their runway shows.
Three houses staged noisy, late night mega bashes – Alexander Wang, Philipp Plein and Rihanna – in the case of the first two directly squaring off at the same time. Rihanna definitely had the most fun – taking her bow on the back of a motorbike after her Fenty X Puma show in the Uptown Armory Sunday night. And, ultimately, staged by far and away the most relevant collection.
The night before, Wang invited his fans to Bushwick, so far east in Brooklyn; one expected the locals to be talking Icelandic. Wang – who accused Plein via Instagram this spring of copying him (a post later taken down) - pointedly staged his show at exactly the same time as Plein’s event.
In the end it started much later, as Wang and his models stopped by two of his Manhattan stores – all live streamed – en route, and thus arrived at 10.30PM. The actual collection was just about acceptable but entirely lack in any sense of purpose. Jeans in contrasting legs of denim and mini reflective mirrors; shaggy white faux Chanel jackets and lacey cowgirl skirts. In a comment on what fashion in NYC has become, Kendall Jenner wore a tiara reading “Hangover.”
Back in Manhattan, Plein held his bash in midtown’s Hammerstein Ballroom. Entitled Good gone Bad, the set was a wacky opera house with tables groaning with that ideal Euro trash meal – champagne and hamburgers. Inspired by Amsterdam’s Red Light District, the soirée included disco balls, pole dancers and Dita von Teese performing her faintly naughty Martini Glass, a burlesque number where she strips in a giant cocktail glass.
Where Wang had a bunch of scrawny downtown models, Plein sent out uber hot babes – from Adriana Lima to Irina Shayk. Along with Snoop Dogg – father and son. Plein will never be a trend setting-designer, though his bondage princesses; lacey disco tramps and Gone with the Wind meets Madonna black duchesse silk ruffles looks had plenty of showy energy. Over 2,000 fans and curious stood outside on 34th street begging – unsuccessfully - to get in. Post-show, a few hundred lucky few were off to the next stop - Plein in model-haven 1Oak and an appearance by Nicki Minaj.
In a season when a half dozen major brands have skipped out of NYC, fashionistas were clearly grateful for Plein showing in New York. Rihanna – after two seasons in Paris – was greeted like returning conquering heroine. Security was extremely tight at her show – staged in a former military depot on Park Avenue. The set was truly bizarre – the audience sitting around hills of what look like pink candy, as if a famous all pink house that Marc Jacobs had built in the same show space last year had been blown over by Hurricane Irma.
Three daredevil bike riders opened the show before her cast appeared in sherbet and day-glow mixes of surfer gear and high-tech mountaineers clobber along with biker shorts and scuba tops. Add in Pacific blue nylon overalls and some marvelous logo mountain boots. Finished with racy slits, lace trim and bulky zips they all looked great. Post-show, the crowd jumped into limousines and yellow cabs and headed to Time Square, and the singers’ dance party in Magic Hour, a roof top bar. New York Fashion Week, like the city itself, never sleeps.
Most tellingly, besides all the partying, Rihanna had the most influential clothes. It was remarkable that the most important collection of the three mega fete shows this weekend was by a “celebrity” brand outperforming two “official” designers.
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