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A Comprehensive Guide to the Most Show-Stopping Moments of New York Fashion Week

5 minute read

New York Fashion Week has come to a close, but that doesn’t mean that there still isn’t plenty to discuss about this buzzy week. While some of NYFW’s most memorable moments were carefully planned, like Pyer Moss showing their collection in the historic Brooklyn neighborhood of Weeksville (one of the first free-black communities in the United States,) others, like model Slick Woods going into labor after walking in the much-anticipated Savage x Fenty show, were not. From the runways to the after-parties, we’ve broken down the most show-stopping moments of this NYFW season below.

Political Statements Reappear on the Runway: In recent years, talking about political issues in the fashion arena has become en vogue (the statement tee seems to be the preferred mode of protest) and this season proved to be no different. Jeremy Scott, who showed his collection during the first days of NYFW, used his final bow at his runway show to share how he really felt about President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Brett M. Kavanaugh. Scott sported a homemade statement shirt that read: “Tell Your Senator No on Kavanaugh,”along with a phone number for people to call to express their dissent; the statement was more than timely when you consider that Scott’s show happened on the same day that Kavanaugh’s four-day Supreme Court nominee hearing wrapped.

Jeremy Scott - Runway - September 2018 - New York Fashion Week: The Shows
Thomas Concordia—WireImage

At Christian Siriano, the political expression came in the form of an endorsement for New York gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon, who sat in the show’s front row alongside Whoopi Goldberg, Judith Light, and Tiffany Haddish. Siriano sent a model down the runway in a shirt that read “I’m Voting For Cynthia” then took his final bow in a matching shirt.

The Party Scene Was One For the Books: The party circuit of this season’s NYFW won’t soon be forgotten, thanks to a memorable dinner soirée for Ralph Lauren’s 50th anniversary as a brand and a dramatic altercation between Nicki Minaj and Cardi B at the annual Harper’s Bazaar’s Icons party. At Ralph Lauren, Kanye West sat with Hillary Rodham Clinton and Oprah as the latter gave the toast to Lauren’s golden anniversary in the fashion industry — talk about a power table!

Fresh Locations and Formats: The new guard of New York fashion breathed life into an old tradition by selecting innovative locations, themes, and practices for their shows and presentations. Telfar, a unisex brand that won the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund last year, showed on a helicopter pad on the East River and included musical performances by Selah Marley and Moses Sumney.

Opening Ceremony chose to forego a runway show completely, opting instead for a performance extravaganza at legendary New York nightspot Le Poisson Rouge, that was curated by Drag Race star Sasha Velour. More than 40 models and performers, all of whom identified as LGBTQ, wore Opening Ceremony clothes during their performances, culminating in a stunning finale that starred Velour and other drag queens singing with Christina Aguilera.

However, it was Pyer Moss’ moving show held in the historic Brooklyn neighborhood of Weeksville, that may have held the most gravitas. Weeksville, one of the first free-black communities in the United States, was a perfect setting for designer Kefrby Jean-Raymond to explore, as he told Vogue, “what the African-American experience would look like without the constant threat of racism,” a theme he drove home with the accompaniment of a gospel choir clad in white robes during the show and a post-show friends and family cookout.

Unexpected Surprises at NYFW’s Finale: In recent fashion history, two things are certain: Marc Jacobs closes out the week and he’s fastidiously punctual. This year, neither statements were true. The NYFW vet was upstaged from his finale slot when Rihanna announced that she would be showing her show in Brooklyn at 7:30 pm, nearly an hour and a half after Jacobs’ show would start. This season, Jacobs ran into unforeseen challenges, which led to his legendarily on-time runway show starting an hour and a half late. “It was my wishful thinking that we could accomplish all that needed to be done for this show with the circumstances we faced. I was wrong,” the designer wrote on Instagram.

Some editors left early — to other shows, to Brooklyn for Rihanna, to catch flights to London Fashion Week, as one does — but those who stayed were vocal in their rapture at his exceptionally dreamy designs this season.

The drama didn’t end with Jacobs though — in Brooklyn, Rihanna’s inclusive fashion show for her lingerie line, Savage x Fenty, featured models of all shapes, sizes, and ethnic identities, including Paloma Elsesser, Molly Constable, and longtime Fenty muse, Slick Woods, who took to the runway 9 months pregnant and went into labor after she finished the show. Talk about going out of NYFW with a bang!

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Write to Cady Lang at cady.lang@timemagazine.com