NEW YORK, N.Y. – There was a wall that oozed chocolate, a streaker on the runway, a gallery turned into a freaky fashion cathedral, an entire armoury outfitted with fake puffy clouds, and so much snow — REAL snow — that even dedicated fashionistas traded in stilettos for boots. (Well, SOME fashionistas.)
There were celebrities galore, from newly minted fashion star Lupita Nyong’o to David Beckham to Katie Holmes to Chelsea Clinton. And of course there were the clothes: from jewel-encrusted gowns destined for the Oscar red carpet to huge, comfy sweaters — which, given the weather, were frankly much more inviting. There was much to admire fashion-wise, and some head-scratchers, too.
But here are some of the non-sartorial moments — weird, wonderful, or otherwise notable — that caught our eye during Fashion Week:
A FASHION SHOW GOES TO BROOKLYN
It was the year of the great trek. Even more top designers than in the past left the tents at Lincoln Center, like Diane von Furstenberg and Michael Kors, both travelling downtown to Tribeca. But what really got attention was Alexander Wang’s decision to have his show in, gasp, Brooklyn. At the Navy Yard, yet. Given the buzz surrounding Wang — who’s only 30 but already a big name in fashion — it was a no-brainer that people would come. The question was only how annoyed they’d be, especially on a frigid Saturday night. Luckily, Wang put on a show, with leather that changed colour on the spot when heated, a rotating stage, and a set that resembled a post-apocalyptic world — which was where, frankly, many Manhattan-centric guests felt they were.
WEATHER, WEATHER, AND MORE WEATHER
There was snow, sleet, freezing rain, and slush, melting into huge brown puddles. Nature was least kind to Ralph Lauren, whose show took place during the worst of Thursday’s snowstorm, but hey — everybody came, even one woman in heels who hitched a ride on her boyfriend’s back. This was Ralph Lauren, after all.
CAN WE GET SOME OF THAT?
The design house Opening Ceremony had the yummiest show of the week. Chocolate oozed down a massive white wall. Some guests dipped their fingers in it or even lapped it up. “My mind is blown,” said Joe Jonas — yes, of the Jonas brothers. “It does smell like something is baking,” said singer Kelly Rowland, a judge on “The X Factor.”
DON’T STEP ON THE MULCH!
That was the unusual warning from a guard to guests at the Tommy Hilfiger show inside the cavernous Park Avenue Armory, with a set that evoked a winter’s day in a place far more idyllic than slushy Manhattan. It included a log cabin, fir trees, and fake snow mixed with, yes, mulch.
THE CHURCH OF BROWNE
Designer Thom Browne filled a gallery space with real church pews, put huge crosses on the wall, and lit candles and incense. Models with freaky white wigs walked stiffly down the runway, looking a bit like Stepford Wives who’d stuck their hands in electric sockets. The clothes exhibited Browne’s knack for craftsmanship but looked like the costume collection from a Tim Burton movie, with wildly exaggerated sleeves and shoulders and a vaguely Victorian look.
AT LEAST HE WAS FIT
Like all designers, Prabal Gurung prepped for months to put on a show that lasted less than 15 minutes. The show got a lot of attention, but not just for the clothes. A streaker wearing an animal-print G-string, a party crown, bright red tube socks and loafers ran onstage and knelt before a model, who never broke her model stare. At an after-party, Gurung responded with humour, handing out similar crowns to his friends.
CELEBS, CELEBS, CELEBS
Celebrity sightings are a major part of Fashion Week. Here are some we saw:
Carrie Underwood at Peter Som and Rebecca Minkoff. Oscar supporting-actor nominee Jared Leto at Jeremy Scott. Supporting actress nominee Lupita Nyong’o at Calvin Klein (alongside Naomi Watts). Michael Douglas, Blake Lively and Freida Pinto at Michael Kors. “Orange is the New Black” actress Samira Wiley — in an orange jumpsuit! — at BCBG Max Azria. David Beckham, taking a selfie with his toddler daughter, at Victoria Beckham of course. Chelsea Clinton alongside rocker Bono at Edun.
Others: Katie Holmes and Hugh Jackman at Donna Karan. Jon Bon Jovi at Kenneth Cole. Lil’ Kim at The Blonds, with a baby bump! Actress Anna Kendrick, everywhere.
Olympic gold medallist Lindsey Vonn missed the Sochi games because of a knee injury, but she walked the runway at the Red Dress Collection, a show that promotes awareness of heart disease. She raised her crutches in the air like ski poles.
Oh, and Kanye West didn’t show up at Wang, as expected. But there was a Kardashian link: Young model Kendall Jenner, daughter of Kris and Bruce Jenner and half-sister of Kim, walked the runway at Marc Jacobs. In a see-through top. People noticed.
FASHION NEWS OFF THE RUNWAY
Carolina Herrera presented her collection in New York, but her big news happened in Washington, where Michelle Obama wore a sumptuous Herrera gown for the state dinner with French President Francois Hollande.
REAL PEOPLE ON THE RUNWAY
In a populist touch, Donna Karan brought everyday New Yorkers onto the runway at her DKNY show (along with the models, of course). They included a DJ, a biologist, a “night life hostess,” and a “tattoo artist/ pro skateboarder.” Some even had (gasp) grey hair. Karan explained: “DKNY really is about the streets of New York.”
Speaking of Karan, the influential designer marked 30 years of her signature line with a tear and a wave. And Diane von Furstenberg, with a splashy show that ended in a shower of gold confetti, Diane von Furstenberg celebrated the 40th anniversary of her famous wrap dress, now getting renewed attention in the ’70s-themed Oscar-nominated film “American Hustle.”
STRANGE Colour NAMES
Every year designers seem to come up with more inventive names for colours. Examples this year: Anthracite, from Zac Posen. Cement, from Richard Chai. And the winner, Soy Chai —as in the latte — from BCBG Max Azria.
Designers are coveting spots on that Oscar red carpet March 2. Michael Kors and Marchesa designers Georgina Chapman and Keren Craig explained that they won’t know if anyone’s wearing their designs until the moment that star steps on the red carpet. Who would Kors like to dress? Cate Blanchett, for one. Vera Wang said she’s always ached to dress Tilda Swinton.
THAT SONG IN YOUR HEAD
Every show has a soundtrack; some stick in the head for hours. Michael Kors, in his California-themed show, had several versions of “California Dreamin,'” and “Ventura Highway.” Proenza Schouler, in a show both eye-catching and ear-catching, used a version of Missy Elliott’s “Work It.” And Marc Jacobs used “Happy Days Are Here Again” — but spoken, ominously, by actress Jessica Lange.
A CLOUDY FINALE
A fashion show is often not just about clothes, it’s about the show. And so the Jacobs show was a fitting finale to the week. The designer outfitted the enormous Lexington Avenue Armory with clouds — actually pillows hanging from the rafters. Each guest had a pod to sit on, a single flower placed on each. When it was over, everyone left the fake cloudy sky — to step out into the real, rainy one.
Associated Press writers Leanne Italie, Nicole Evatt and Nekesa Mumbi Moody contributed to this report.