This time last year, Prabal Gurung showed his spring 2017 collection and proudly paraded around the fact that Gloria Steinem was at the center of his mood board, having inspired his activism even further after he read her memoir My Life on the Road, which details her adventures and achievements as a women’s rights activist (or “wandering organizer,” as she modestly put it).
The next season, the Nepalese designer evidenced just how much Steinem had inspired him by getting even more explicitly political, sending out his diverse cast of models in t-shirts emblazoned with slogans like “Nevertheless, she persisted,” “revolution has borders,” and “I am an immigrant” for the show’s finale.
And now, exactly a year after Gurung officially outed himself as a Steinem fanboy, things finally came full circle: On Sunday night, Steinem herself sat front row at Gurung’s Spring 2018 show as his guest of honor—and, as it turned out, in a space filled with the likes of Gigi and Bella Hadid, perhaps the night’s greenest Fashion Week attendee.
Though you could never tell from her all-black outfit and the sunglasses she kept on throughout the show, somehow, even though she’s done everything from march with Martin Luther King, Jr. to go undercover as a Playboy bunny to expose the horrific working conditions for women at Playboy Clubs, Steinem, it turns out, had never before been to a fashion show before—and was not afraid to admit it.
“There is a first time for everything, even at 83!” she captioned an Instagram of her proudly holding up her show ticket, with some somewhat empty rows in the background appearing to evidence she arrived to the show right on time.
Steinem, however, definitely wasn’t alone: She was in fact soon surrounded by political peers, starting with the self-described “woke” poet Cleo Wade, who herself was seated next to Hillary Clinton’s former adviser, Huma Abedin. The trio also teamed up with the Black Lives Matter activist DeRay Mckesson and Teen Vogue editor-in-chief Elaine Welteroth, the latter of whom she could be overheard discussing feminism with before the lights dimmed to make way for another diverse cast of models.
Out of all those names, though, it was Steinem who drew Gurung out before the show—aka the most chaotic time backstage—to personally greet. “I had to pay my respects to the woman (besides my mom) who has inspired me to become a better person,” the designer later said on Twitter. “She is truly phenomenal.”
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