New York Fashion Week is turning out to be one big shopping party, with runway shows doubling up as elaborate retail experiences.
Following Rihanna's series of Fenty x Puma pop-ups and Tommy Hilfiger's two-day see-now-buy-now carnival spectacular, Alexander Wang put on a little in-season happening of his own.
And by little, I mean lavish, starry and dizzying.
There was Madonna and Lourdes, Kylie and Tyga, Slurpees and McDonald's. I'll explain. But first, the reason for all the revelry: Wang used the finale of his Spring/Summer '17 show to make a surprise reveal, the launch of his new collaboration with Adidas Originals.
And a lot happened. Here, we attempt to fit it all into a single recap.
9 p.m. – We're approaching clubbing hours as attendees, dressed to the nines, rock up to Pier 94 for the show.
And as with any good party, one must be fashionably late. The early birds lose the cool points. 'This show isn't starting for another half an hour,' one doorman explains to a crowd of people waiting behind a rope. 'You're a little early.' (For the record, the time listed on the invite is 9pm.)
9:20ish – Inside, I forget to note the time because I'm too busy being mesmerized by former ELLE cover girl Jourdan Dunn, who is seated across from me and giving the photo-op of life, smizing effortlessly for a throng of photographers and taking selfies with fans while wearing AW16 Wang.
Minutes later the scrum gets brighter and louder and more frenetic: Zoe Kravitz has just taken her seat followed by Nicki Minaj, Kylie Jenner and Tyga.
And wait, who is that pretty, new girl in the ivory slogan sweater who has the paparazzi worked up in the biggest frenzy of all? A Kardashian cousin perhaps? She is not, she's Lourdes and that woman sitting down beside her would be Madonna.
Across the runway, Will.I.Am. is talking loudly.
9:46pm – And we're off. The first look is out and it's a sporty and slightly boyish one (the soundtrack literally spells it out for us in case there's any question: 'she's a tomboy' the refrain goes.)
This sets the tone for a series of re-imaginings of classic, cotton men's shirting done in nonchalant dresses and separates, pieces that look especially appealing on a sticky, humid day like this one.
The clothes, in a colour palette of pale blue, ivory and a series of neutrals, are literally lighter than Wang's heavy, brooding, punk-inspired autumn work.
There's an airiness to the cotton and silk-lingerie inspired separates. And there's an element of sport (more about this later) that surfaces in the biker short and jacket pairings, the wetsuit-style dresses and the sports bras peeking out from underneath shirts.
9:50pm – Kendall Jenner walks the runway and Kylie, sitting front row, screams, cheering her sister on while taking phone footage, of course.
Shortly after, just as the last model takes her final lap around the runway, a document, an NDA agreement, starts flashing on the back wall. We won't have to bother signing, or even reading it, though.
Because minutes later, Wang is introducing an entirely different set of clothing: sportswear, something he's become a bit of an expert in over the years. And here's where the buy-now-see-now concept comes in.
Some of the looks from the AO X AW collection, shot by Juergen Teller, creative directed by Ferdinando Verderi, styled by Karl Templer, have arrived in our inboxes straight after the reveal:
A capsule drop from the 84-piece line of unisex hoodies, sweatshirts, track pants and tees will be available to shop from Sunday via traveling pop-up trucks around New York (shoppers must follow @adidasOriginals or @AlexanderWangNY to find out the locations).
Here's the collection's campaign video:
9:55pm – Now that the show is over, we're headed into an even bigger space where the after party is taking place. And it's sensory overload: there are mini 7-11 stores with Slurpees and sweets. There's also a McDonald's pop-up truck with the longest queue I've ever seen at any McD's.
Here they all are, editors and models and buyers, eating all the cheeseburgers, all the fries. Healthy stuff. (And I am of course one of the first in line for it.) There are also graffiti artists spray-painting cars on site and, yes, models wearing Wang's new Adidas.
But what's so fascinating about this evening, more than the clothes, is the expansiveness of the experience.
Whereas in previous years it might have been enough to simply show clothes on a black runway in a black box theater as Wang and so many others in New York have done previously, for SS17 he has created a different kind of theater, all in the name of selling.
But will a fun party or a carnival really inspire someone to buy an Adidas t-shirt, Tommy Hilfiger coat or pair of Fenty x Puma slides?
No doubt, time and the numbers will tell.