At times, fashion week can seem like a silent competition of who can populate their front rows with the coolest new It-girls, or most important A-List actresses. Going into the weekend, it seemed like Raf Simons' debut at Calvin Klein had the best FROW on lock thanks to appearances by Gwyneth Paltrow, Julianne Moore, Karlie Kloss, Brooke Shields, Naomie Harris, and Millie Bobby Brown, among others.
On Sunday evening, however, Prabal Gurung gave Simons a run for his money with the swift entrance of a striking brunette. "Is that Amal Clooney?" whispered one, slightly clueless show-goer. No, this was Huma Abedin, longtime aide to Hillary Clinton.
An Abedin sighting is a noteworthy one, regardless, but particularly exciting—not to mention relevant—given what is shaping up to be the most politically charged New York Fashion Week ever. Abedin was joined in the front row by Sarah Jessica Parker, Diane Kruger, Emily Robinson, Broad City's Ilana Glazer, Leighton Meester, Ashley Graham, and Misty Copeland, where she waited for the show to begin by chatting with seatmate Priyanka Chopra and waving hello to Anna Wintour from across the aisle.
Beyond the girl power heavy front row, Gurung's collection was a tribute to strong women, culminating in a finale that saw models—Bella Hadid, Joan Smalls, and Josephine Skriver—each wearing a different slogan shirt with a feminist message across the front, a la Maria Grazia Chiuri's "We Should All Be Feminists" t-shirt from her Dior debut. In fact, one of the t-shirts even said, "Yes, We Should All Be Feminists... (Thank You, Chimamanda and Maria)."
"I had to; I always say, 'Not all great ideas came from me,'" Gurung said of his shout-out. "I had to acknowledge that. Maria is an inspiration to me as a designer. She is so amazing."
At Gurung's Grey Goose-hosted post-show dinner, held at Zuma in Midtown, guests who had migrated over from the show, including Copeland, Robinson, Graham, and Abedin, debated their favorite slogan-bearing t-shirt, many of which were inspired by signs from last month's Womens March, and ranged from "I Am A Malala" to "Stay Woke."
Abedin, wearing a purple floral print dress by the designer, noted that she couldn't pick just one favorite. "Prabal's collection was spectacularly beautiful," she said. "But nothing could have prepared me for the surprise finale. It was powerful, inspiring, grounding and defiant, but most importantly, it was hopeful. As always, Prabal never separates his vision from his values."
Gurung, for his part, noted that Abedin, naturally, was a part of that vision. "I've known her for a while, but we really got to know each other during the campaign," he said, casting a glance at his dinner guest. "She inspires me."
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