"New York Fashion Week is really bad, and used to be so glamorous and exciting!" tweeted Donald Trump back in 2013. "No stars, no fun-just boring. They need serious help."
Philipp Plein, the German designer making his New York Fashion Week debut after years of putting on spectacles in Milan, seemed to agree. Indeed, the front cover of a booklet left on every seat read, "Let's make NYFW great again," a phrase that was an obvious reference to Trump's campaign slogan, "Make America Great Again." To underline the point, one of Plein's front row seats would later be occupied by none other Tiffany Trump herself, making her second appearance during fashion week again trailed by a clown car of acolytes like Andrew Warren and Secret Service agents. (She would later turn up in similar fashion at Dennis basso on Tuesday afternoon.)
Not to suggest that the night was some sort of calculated homage to all things Trump (it was too busy being an homage to all things Plein), but the show and resulting after parties (yes, plural) did everything they could to exude a sense of over-the-top decadence, and that was before guests stepped inside the New York Public Library. On the steps, arrivals were by a row of women dressed as the Statue of Liberty, a trio of Elvis impersonators, and Times Square's "Naked Cowboy" in a pair of white Philipp Plein briefs that were noticeably smaller than his regular attire. It was the first sign this would not be your average NYFW show.
Meanwhile, inside, Trump was joined in the front row by Madonna, Kylie Jenner, Paris Hilton, and a who's who of hip hop legends, including Fat Joe, Slick Rick, and Remy Ma. Then, on the runway, Desiigner, Pete Wentz, and Young Thug all walked alongside notable models and even a notable meme in Jeremy "The Hot Felon" Meeks. Nas, The Kills and 2 Live Crew performed.
On the great hall of the library, guests were greeted with a series of bright white neon light installations. "Everyone wants to eat, but few are willing to hunt," read one. It was quite the contrast from the stately marble walls and elegantly detailed wooden ceiling of the history library, though guests would have plenty of time to look up and study that ceiling while waiting for the actual show start.
The 9:00 p.m. invite time implied a 9:30 p.m. start time, but guests were left waiting. Then, a little after 10 p.m., Madonna, cloaked in a full lengthy Plein puffer coat that would later be shown on the runway and sunglasses, was escorted to her seat. With the Queen of Pop fully situated in the front row between Kylie Jenner and Steven Klein, the rapper Nas took the stage to perform "If I Ruled The World." Lest anyone think the actual show was about to start, Plein himself came out to make an untraditional pre-show speech. In between apologizing for the delay and promising to keep it brief he got to his main point: who he actually is.
"People always ask me," he said. "'Who the f--k is Philipp Plein?" "Who is this guy who comes here, does a show with so many people in this beautiful, let's call it, palace. Well, that's me. So, very insane."
"I'm just a dreamer and a believer," he elaborated. "You can call me a dream chaser. I believe in my dreams and then they come true. Because if you don't believe, and I don't believe in my dreams, and we don't believe in our dreams, they will never come true, right? So, that's it. And, um, yeah. That's all I can say. I mean, this is a dream, and this dream came true for me tonight."
Plein would then proceed to shout out members of his front row and Carine Roitfeld, the former French Vogue editor who styled the looks, and give some detailed information about the after party before finally allowing that dream to begin.
Meeks, the man who has been dubbed the "hot felon" after his striking mugshot went viral, opened the show, making his New York Fashion Week debut. He'd be joined by other notable castings including Young Thug, graffiti artist Alec Monopoly, Sofia Richie, man-about-town Eli Mizrahi, New England patriots wide receiver Danny Amendola, Fetty Wap, hotel scion Sebastian Faena, Roberto Rossellini (son of Isabella), Instagram stars Neels Visser and Matthew Noszka, actor Will Peltz, and Anwar Hadid. There were even a few traditional models. There were 80 looks in all, though Plein's army would not get to take their final strut.
When the strains of 2 Live Crew's "Banned in the USA" began on the soundtrack, about half the guests took it is as the ending, not the beginning of the grand finale and bolted for the door. Apparently, the question of why the Miami Bass band was performing at a New York Fashion Week party in the year 2017 wasn't enticing enough for most guests to wait for the answers. Models attempted to take the final walk, but were basically pushed back by the crowd rushing out the side corridor that had served as the start of the runway.
At the dinner following the event, Plein didn't seem too upset. Madonna, who said on Instagram Plein had made a donation to her Raising Malawi charity, Jenner, and Trump didn't stay to eat, but the Hilton sisters, a handful of models, Fat Joe and Meeks did.
The set-up was even more over-the-top than the show, if you can believe that. The table, baring the Plein logo on the table cloth, featured a disco ball hung from two silver poles (technically not of the stripper variety) in the center. A performer hula hooped throughout the night as guests picked at a steak dinner.
Plein, apparently not afraid of public speaking, took to the mic to make several remarks throughout the night, thanking everyone for being there. As the clock ticked towards midnight, he initiated a New Year's Eve-style countdown to the beginning of Valentine's day. He invited his girlfriend, Andreaa Sasu, and some of the more notable guests to join him for some tabletop dancing of their own. While Nicky Hilton Rothschild declined, Paris Hilton was game. She danced the night away with Meeks, and Sofia Richie, the younger sister of her once television BFF Nicole Richie.
Downstairs held an even bigger affair. DJs The Martinez Brothers and Circoloco spun in the main hall of the library. Cotton candy and hotdogs were proffered and guests were allowed to drive actual bumper cars, done up in a shiny silver paint job, throughout the space.
Exciting? Yes. Glamorous? A certain vision of it. Stars? So many. Boring? Only a bit during the wait for Madonna. Indeed, if that's what Plein felt he needed to make New York Fashion Week great again, well, he did it his way.
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