Everything a ‘RUSSH’ editor overheard during New York Fashion Week

The gossip on the ground on Tuesday night in New York City was that none other than Beyoncé was going to attend a New York Fashion Week Show. After a season with less big names in the front row than most, could it really be one of  the most powerful women in the world would appear? Travel to Bushwick, Brooklyn? On a Tuesday? After just breaking the internet by announcing a new album a few days earlier? 

It turns out the rumours were true. Beyoncé, her mum, Tina, and sister, Solange, attended Luar’s show to support Solange’s son, and Beyoncé’s nephew, Julez, as he made his runway debut. On the first sighting of a silver cowboy hat, the internet erupted and those at the venue scrambled to catch firsthand footage of the singer. Editor Liana Satenstein uploaded blurry footage from a car full of editors racing to the venue as they frantically text the PR who confirmed the singer was indeed there and some, a friend who was present told me, began standing up from their seats during the show. Others, she lamented, went so far as to run across the runway between models. 

Mega Popstar cameo aside, below, a roundup of everything else everyone was talking about during NYFW.


"I forgot where I was, rolled my eyes and let out a huge sigh": Should designers walk the length of the runway for their finale?

Ludovic de Saint Sernin brought his designs from Paris to NYC for the first time, showing on Monday night at 8pm to a crowd including Jenna Lyons and Jemima Kirke (who immediately lit up a cigarette on the footpath post-show). Following a leather-laden runway walked by the likes of the industry's current favourite model Alex Consani, de Saint Sernin popped out from backstage after the finale, and then slowly, as stone-faced as the models that came before him, walked the length of the long, dark runway himself.

The decision was much discussed in the elevator down: an editor told me she loved it: "He could be a model himself," she said, while another added, "It's nice to see how he wears the clothes." Whereas a third, later during martinis in a hotel lobby in lieu of going to the no-doubt intense after-party at The Standard's Boom Boom Room, said she found it cringe: "I forgot where I was, rolled my eyes and let out a huge sigh when I realised he was committing to the entire runway," she said. "I hate when designers do that." I pointed out Willy Chavarria also walked the entirety of his runway — but at the same time as the models, rather than solo, post-show. "Willy is different," she replied. "I'm a fan of a modest bow, a la Miuccia Prada," another editor I asked the next day said. "A little look at the 'fit and a shy wave... but perhaps the reason I think that's how it should be done should be examined."


"It feels like a weird business move": Do theatrics sometimes negatively distract from the show?


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A post shared by E L E N A V E L E Z (@elenavelez)

Yes, when it's concerning Elena Velez, the Downtown darling who likes to say she's not provocative, but who dedicated her NYFW presentation to reexamining Gone with the Wind. The problem with this (other than the obvious) is, the clothes were actually good. But no one's focusing on the clothes when there's a salon taking place on Monday night in an Upper East Side mansion in dedication of a notoriously racist novel. "Contemporary edgelord humour is so entrenched in digital culture," wrote fashion editor Alexandra Hildreth on Instagram following the event. "Scooping up disgruntled youth who feel that everything has become too "liberally smooth brained" and often turn to platforming dark or problematic ideas to prove irony & free thinking." Another friend added over coffee the next day, "In a climate where the conversation is increasingly about how hard it is to keep an independent fashion label going — one Velez herself has been vocal about — at the very least, it feels like a weird business move."


"I won't go if it's second row": Is NYFW dead?


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A post shared by LUAR (@luar)

Editors are guilty of complaining at every fashion week, be it London, Paris, Milan, or Australia: of being tired, of being busy, of their seating assignment (I overheard someone saying, "I won't go if I'm second row" and once, in London, watched as the editor beside me angrily emailed the show's PR mid-runway), of too many influencers, of not enough sleep. The memes begin prior to each seasonal fashion month in anticipation of all the whinging that's about to take place from people who'd, in reality, rather give up their firstborn son than give a ticket to a younger editor who'd be overjoyed at the opportunity to schlep around shows all day. But above and beyond the usual grievances is the non-stop rhetoric about the decline of the fashion scene in the city: New Yorkers love to say New York Fashion Week is dead. But with designers like Willy Chavarria and Luar on schedule, not to mention Marc Jacobs and Thom Browne, and Eckhaus Latta, Helmut Lang, Collina Strada and Sandy Liang, can we really say NYFW is dead? Should we? (No).


"Not another stretchy dress": Where are all the plus-size models?


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A post shared by Batsheva (@batshevadress)

Despite a lot of age diversity this season — Batsheva only cast models above 40 for its show, for example (including Molly Ringwald) — the runways were, disappointingly, overwhelmingly made up of size 0. Paloma Elsesser was left to carry the weight of the entire industry on her shoulders yet again, yet again mostly styled in stretchy dresses, rather than in clothes created for her body, like the incredible casting and dressing at the recent Margiela show in Paris proved is possible. As the week rounded out, Elsesser penned her first piece for The Cut, addressing the realities of being the industry's poster child for diversity. “In a TikTok that was liked 219,000 times, Kanye West fuelled the fire, alleging I was part of a vast conspiracy to ‘push obesity to us,’" Elsesser wrote of the comments in the wake of her winning Model of the Year. "This narrative has long followed me and many in the public eye whose bodies aren’t thin. Yet over the last few years, fatphobia has become acceptable again. Representation in the media has become less alluring to folks, and its purpose is being reduced to ‘woke ideology’.”

"Made me so sad to read this," an editor later wrote on Instagram stories. Me too.


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