New York Fashion Week, with its complementary vodka and seating hierarachy, is a gilded island on a planet that seems to be pirouetting closer to apocalypse by the day. Perhaps as a counterbalance, this season’s slew of after-parties exhibited growing recognition from the fortunate tribe that their positions of influence could be used for a greater good.
Tonight, for instance, Rihanna’s black-tie Diamond Ball at Cipriani Wall Street, with Dave Chappelle as the host and Kendrick Lamar performing, will support her Clara Lionel Foundation. And recent nights also saw fashion week dinners for nonprofits like Project 0 (ocean conservation) and Autism Tomorrow (adult autism).
“The good thing about what’s going on politically is that people are speaking up,” said the designer Marc Jacobs at a drag ball he hosted last Thursday with RuPaul. At the McKittrick Hotel in Chelsea, the affair was a benefit for Planned Parenthood, complete with a bobbing sea of elaborate wigs, capes, bodysuits and sequins. “They’re protesting,”Mr. Jacobs said. “They’re standing up for their transgender brothers and sisters. We’re using our voice more than ever.”
Yes, the more voices, the better. And there is increasing emphasis on poking a pin in fashion’s cloistered bubble. On Monday, Rosario Dawson gave a dinner at Mailroom, a financial district lounge wedged in the basement of a WeLive building, to benefit the Fashion Rising foundation. Like her Studio One Eighty Nine clothing line, which had a presentation earlier in the day, both use fashion to promote social change and empowerment in Africa.
But don’t be fooled. All this conscientiousness did not preclude altered consciousness.
Also on Monday, at the Standard hotel in the meatpacking district, Purple magazine celebrated its 25th anniversary with a hedonistic party that featured a proto-punk performance from Buster Poindexter and guests including Alek Wek, James Goldstein and Terry Richardson. “I have no nostalgic feeling for the past,” said Olivier Zahm, the founder of Purple. On the roof, partygoers swigged champagne as the twin blue beams from the Tribute in Light 9/11 memorial pierced the heavens.
Kelela, the musician, arrived with Shayne Oliver, the creator of Hood By Air and the new designer at Helmut Lang. Earlier in the week, she had walked in the Eckhaus Latta show. “I didn’t feel tokenized,” she said of a company that emphasizes casting diverse models. “It’s because of the incredible legacy they’ve created.”
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