New York Fashion Week is a lot of things, but dull is certainly not one of them. While this season’s spectacle introduced a new business model and brought back some of our favorite style icons, the week hasn’t been without its fair share of WTF moments, spanning from quirky to funny to just plain head-scratching. Here, we share highlights of the unexpected happenings, both on and off the runway.
Kenzo turned people into live nude sculptures
Kenzo designers Carol Lim and Humberto Leon experimented with the human element in their Spring 2017 show when they enlisted real people painted white, yellow and blue (à la plaster) to stand as naked sculptures at the Cite de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine. More than 20 dancers, aerialists and even a midwife managed to pose so still that it was hard to tell whether they were breathing (or whether attendees paid any attention to the models with the human sculptures at center stage).
Rihanna channeled a gym-bound Marie Antoinette
“If Marie Antoinette was going to the gym and needed something to wear.” That's how Rihanna described her sophomore Fenty x Puma collection, which had models wearing pastel-colored sweatpants and pink peplum hoodies that harkened back to the 18th century (with a modern flair, of course). Even the men walked the runway at the Hôtel Salomon de Rothschild in lace-trimmed camisoles and pearl necklaces. Now if only we could actually wear corsets to the gym...
Margiela's models came from another planet
At Maison Margiela's show, creative director John Galliano took his eccentricity to new heights by outfitting models with Magneto-like headgear and eye shields. Legendary makeup artist Pat McGrath elevated their futuristic looks with yellow-tinted eyebrows, frosty cobalt blue lips and glitter eyeshadows. It was an intergalactic spectacle that arguably used every existing color combination. Welcome to the next galaxy.
Saint Laurent chose to #FreeTheNipple with pasties
At Anthony Vaccarello's Saint Laurent debut, model Binx Walton dared to bare as she walked the runway in a liquid leather wrap dress that was folded to expose a rhinestone-adorned left nipple. Though no one else had the honor of wearing the glitter pasty, other models also left their breasts on full display, which isn't the first time the fashion house freed the nipple (remember Lida Fox at YSL's Fall 2015 show). Yes, it's true—glitter nipples just happened.
Goodbye flower crowns, hello face flowers
To get spring's latest beauty trend, you'll need to complete all of two steps: 1) Pick out some dried flowers. 2) Stick them to your face. Yes, face flowers are the new flower crown, and they were spotted all over the runway at Preen's Spring 2017 show in London. Models wore the adhesive-pressed flowers on their foreheads, necklines and lips—because who really needs makeup or lipstick when you've got a face full of pretty petals?
Marc Jacobs's show had glam rockers in kinky boots
From rainbow dreadlocks to 7-inch platform boots, Marc Jacobs' Spring 2017 presentation was more rave than runway. The designer closed out NYFW with a bang through a fresh change from the wearable clothes and minimalist aesthetics we saw at other shows. Models flaunted camouflage prints and pink hot pants under twinkling light bulbs that hung from the ceiling of the Hammerstein Ballroom. Both futuristic and telling of the times, it was the perfect end to a fashion week that did everything else but disappoint.
Raquel Allegra and Assembly prove that ball is life
Instead of going the runway route, Raquel Allegra and Greg Armas of Assembly New York decided to tap two local all-female basketball teams for a joint fashion show that had models respectively dressed in leopard prints and palazzo pants versus camisole tops and pleated gauchos. The Brooklyn Titans cheerleaders chanted "Go models!" as each team went at the hoops. With their jump shots and layups, the models demonstrated that the designers' clothes could go from game time to day time. We call that a win-win.
Models went on a psychedelic trip at Morgan Lane's show
The models moved like butterflies, wafting in delicate lace and silk pajamas with oversize flowers and candy stripes. Yes, there were magic mushrooms involved. But no, not the edible kind. Instead, Morgan Lane's signature mushroom print took over her debut NYFW set, creating a "psychedelic nocturnal garden" complete with live music. A white-on-white backdrop allowed the audience to pay closer attention to the swimwear, which were decorated with rhinestones, glitter and butterfly appliqués. Stay trippy.
DKNY closes the High Line and models color-coordinate
For DKNY's Spring 2017 show, designers Maxwell Osborne and Dao-Yi Chow effectively shut down the High Line in order to present their collection, which mixed futurism with athleisure. Need-now items included over-the-knee sneakers (or were they boots?) and hoodies that sported thigh-length white hair. But the real surprise came in the finale when, straying away from tradition, the models walked out in color-coordinated hooded boilersuits instead of their last looks. Perhaps this was the designers' way of telling us that there's nothing wrong with blending in.
Maryam Nassir Zadeh had models breaking plates and things
In Iranian culture, the act of breaking things is said to be more of a cause for celebration than despair (no seven years of bad luck for shattered mirrors!). Maryam Nassir Zadeh's Spring 2017 show put that ceremony to practice, as models dropped and smashed ceramic plates on the floors of a West Village gallery space. The designer explained that the idea was "to let go of control and to find the beauty in the unexpected." Sign us up.
Thom Browne installed a pool party/petting zoo in a Chelsea gallery
True to his whimsical self, Thom Browne brought Palm Beach to New York City for his Spring 2017 show. Chlorine blue mosaic tiles lined the floors, giving the illusion of a swimming pool overlooking a Grecian gazebo. Then there were pops of color: pastel blue and white lipstick, banana and palm green trompe l'oeil print dresses, floral caftans with matching oversize bathing caps and patchwork bags shaped after Browne's own dachshund, Hector. While the characters wearing cat costumes certainly caught eyes, the real scene-stealer was a model dressed as a disco dog. We wouldn't have expected anything less from the designer.
Proenza Schouler's models were all ears
All eyes were on the ears at Proenza Schouler's show, where models displayed both geometric oversize earrings and earlobes painted in yellow or white. That's right—makeup artist Diane Kendal eschewed eye and lip makeup, and instead colored each model's ears with MAC's Chromacake pigment for a decorative statement that was hard to ignore. While this isn't the first time ear makeup appeared on the runway, we know for sure that it won't be the last.
Opening Ceremony gets political with a beauty pageant
Inspired by the upcoming presidential election, Opening Ceremony hosted a fashion show/comedy skit/political gathering aptly named the "Pageant of the People," where designers Humberto Leon and Carol Lim saluted American democracy. Portlandia co-stars and hosts Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein invited celebrities and models onstage, and some, like Whoopi Goldberg and Rashida Jones, answered pageant-style questions about immigration, gender discrimination and income inequality. Of course, they punctuated all the seriousness by chasing the models and making quips directed at the fashion industry in general. Quote of the night: "You should vote, because if you don't vote, you can't bitch," said Whoopi.
Models were trapped in a Sisyphean task
Call it performance art, or a coup de théâtre, but Victor Barragán's unisex show had all the elements of a strangely modern Greek mythology skit. An oxymoron, you say? Models in leather coats and chain-mail rolled an oversize papier-mâché boulder down the runway, up a ramp and then allowed it to roll back down. Barragán explained that the act symbolized his experience of starting a label with minimal resources in New York City's competitive fashion industry. We get it. Kinda.
Alexander Wang's after-party was catered by fast food's finest
No one does after-parties quite like Alexander Wang. Following his Spring 2017 show, guests were invited to raid 7-Eleven and McDonald's trucks for Slurpees and Big Macs, spray-paint brand new cars, play with an arcade-style claw machine filled with NARS products, and buy shirts from the same collection that had just gone down the runway (thank you, see-now-buy-now trend). The star-studded guest list included Madonna, Kylie Jenner and Aziz Ansari, all of whom got to listen to performances by Skrillex and Travis Scott as they danced through the night in glitter confetti showers.
Kendall and Kylie survive their worst nightmare
On the way to a NYFW event, Kendall and Kylie Jenner found themselves trapped in an elevator with besties Hailey Baldwin and Jordyn Woods. The two documented their 20-minute ordeal on Snapchat, where they attempted to pry open the doors and divvied up a granola bar. Eventually, firefighters arrived to the rescue, and the sisters even posed to take a group pic with their heroes. Looks like next time they'll be taking the stairs.
Kanye got fashion's A-listers to bake in the summer heat
After a nearly two-hour wait under the blistering late summer heat, models at Kanye West's Yeezy Season 4 show began to drop like flies. Some crouched on the grass and were eventually handed water bottles by event staff, but others took it hard: One model fainted, and another went so far as to take her high-heeled shoes off as she walked the runway. Add that to the fact that fashion editors and writers had to schlep all the way to Roosevelt Island in buses, and you've got as controversial a show as you would expect from Yeezus himself.
The baby bump has become a trend
There must be something in the fashion water. From digital entrepreneur Miroslava Duma to former style blogger Pernille Teisbaek, some of today's top fashion influencers were spotted rocking the baby bump this NYFW. Both Eva Chen, Instagram's head of fashion partnerships, and Style Bubble blogger Susie Lau recently announced their pregnancies on Instagram, and we can't help but think that these little ones will inherit their moms' incredible fashion sense.