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Beyond the Runway: The Social Goings-On of New York Fashion Week: Mens

  • William Van-Lear Black
  • July 14, 2017
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Calvin Klein Creative Director Raf Simmons

Todd Snyder and Raf Simmons, two renowned menswear designers who showcased their work at New York Fashion Week: Men’s this week, have made their livings putting at fashion shows. What turned heads Monday, though, Max Berlinger of The New York Times reports, was each man’s ability to put on a different kind of show: a party.

Immediately following Snyder’s fashion show Monday, the Cadillac House ceased to be a modeling venue and became a makeshift lounge of sorts. Spectator seating disappeared, paving the way for an army of waiters carrying trays filled with avocado, squid crostini, champagne, and vodka.

Snyder himself disappeared as well, just half an hour after the festivities commenced, bound by professional duty to fly to Italy. Still, a gaggle of devotees kept his scepter alive, sported pieces of clothing that bore the Todd Snyder name.

Most attendees wore “streetwear and preppier outfits,” Berlinger says. Sean O’Pry, one of today’s most prolific male models, donned an ensemble from the former category which consisted in part of a white Todd Snyder bomber jacket.

O’Pry, evidently, has been deployed by the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) as a sort of social media “ambassador” (Berlinger’s word). Berlinger points out that O’Pry, whom 612,000 people follow on Instagram, is aptly suited for the role. O’Pry himself, though, says he feels a little out of place.

“Honestly, it’s so crazy, I have no idea what I’m doing,” he told Berlinger, “but it’s a blast.”

Danny Miller, who stuck around for the revelry after Lewis Del Mar, the musical duo of which he forms half, finished playing as part of Snyder’s show, shared a similar sentiment.

““Whenever you’re performing in a space that’s so brightly lit, you feel very exposed,” he said. “What’s cool is all the models and the crew backstage. They’re very excited.”

Indeed, the bright lights, whether camera flashes or stage lights, can be a little disorienting at times. But one gets the feeling O’Pry and Miller don’t mind much. “After all,” as Berlinger says, “it was just friends.”

If Snyder’s party turned the Cadillac House into an upscale nightclub, Raf Simmons’ turned Bacaro, which Berlinger describes as “a cavelike Italian restaurant on the Lower East Side,” into an old fashioned rave. DJ Justin Strauss filled the epicurean “cave” with electronic music, and most people were too busy dancing to bother much with the plates of steak, risotto, and tiramisu offered.

According to Berlinger, most of the “revelers” wore “track suits and graphic T-shirts.” Much of the clothing on display was designed by Simmons. Simmons, the creative director of Calvin Klein, was not too shy to promote his own brand.

Simmons packed Bacaro with 100 friends, including Humberto Leon, a fashion designer based on the opposite coast; Hanne Gaby Odielle, a Belgian model; singer Lissy Trullie; Nic Galway of Adidas; actor Ashton Sanders; and 18-year-old social media phenom Luka Sabbat, who has over 180,000 Instagram followers and more than 60,000 Twitter followers, and whom The New York Times’ Guy Trebay has called “the coolest teenager on the internet.”

The gathering took place after what Berlinger calls a “Blade-Runner inspired” show by Simmons, which a standing crowd watched in a Chinatown back alley.

Sanders says of Simmons: “I think that Raf is a revolutionary in every way, man. He’s always been ahead of his time.”

Perhaps it is so, but Simmons is not so far ahead of his time that he can’t slow the clock down a little bit and enjoy some time with a few friends. It’s good to know that once the bright lights turn off, the runways become dance floors and the only lights to be seen are the kind under which people can dance.

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I'm Will Black. Pleased to meet you. In case you haven't noticed, there’s a lot happening on this 8,000-mile-wide sphere we’re all stuck on together. There’s plenty going on in each 22.5 inch wide sphere that rests upon a human being’s shoulders, too. I’ve heard every broken record that plays in my own personal 22.5’’ sphere. Writing, for me, is an opportunity to smooth over the ticks and pops on those records, and an effort to understand and lend expression to the myriad phenomena going on in everybody else’s little sphere. If I do that work properly, our ride through space on this big blue sphere should be a little more worthwhile, or at least a little more tolerable.

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