Thanks to an expanding range of sizes, ages, ethnicities and genders represented on the catwalks, every season the industry inches toward becoming a more embracive field. There were signs of that this week as some designers continued to defy the age-old boundaries of their trade by giving an array of models the platform to strut for the world to see.
There were equally empowering moments taking place on the sidelines as Cardi B took her seat next to Anna Wintour and Victoria Beckhamdemonstrated the juggling act of a working mother of four in one fell swoop.
Whether the larger message was solidarity, inclusion, simply mirroring reality or all of the above, the impact of these fashion week moments will live long beyond these seven days.
As model Candice Huffine wrote to her social media followers, “There is a saying that ‘fashion is fantasy,’ but I believe fashion is far more exciting when it matches this world in which we live today.” Step by step, that vision is solidifying.
Here are some of the moments that prove that to be true:
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A Finale of Sisterhood
Solidarity among women has been a prominent force as of late—and it made its way onto the runway, too. As Prabal Gurung‘s fall-winter 2018 show came to a close, the models united to close out the show arm in arm. As the designer explained on social media, “This is the #pgworld, where we celebrate female solidarity, we share the colours of Prabal’s home in the east, and we present a vision for our collective future, a future that is #StrongerInColour.”
A Dragutante Hits the Runway
Among a sea of runway stars, 10-year-old Desmond Napoles made his runway debut—and what a momentous debut it was. The self-identified “dragutante” and LGBTQIA advocate strutted for Gypsy Sport and was immediately showered with love and praise for his unwavering confidence and sense of self. “OMG! I can’t believe this is happening right now. I am dying! Literally dying right now! My first time walking in @nyfw,” he wrote ahead of the big show. “Thank you @gypsysport…you made my dreams come true!” His dreams—and those of many, many more.
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Showing Her Scars
The ever-inclusive Chromat reached a new height of diversity when breast cancer survivor and sex educator Ericka Hart confidently strutted the runway in a sheer lime green dress along with models of all sizes, ages, races and gender identities. In a touching move, she pulled the dress down to reveal her double mastectomy scars. As Hart wrote on social media afterward, “Still can’t believe this happened.” Yes, it did!
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Leave it to a former Spice Girl to demonstrate the scope of girl power. After Victoria Beckham‘s fall-winter 2018 show wrapped on Sunday, the acclaimed designer stepped out on the catwalk herself to greet attendees and conclude the presentation. However, before heading backstage, the mother of four stopped to kiss her famous husband David Beckham and three of her kids seated in the front row—a poignant reminder that women can miraculously juggle it all.
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Gigi Hadid Takes a Stand for Her Shape
When it comes to personal attacks, the supermodel simply won’t stand for them. Such was the case this season when social media critics took aim at the 22-year-old catwalk queen’s figure. After walking in Jeremy Scott‘s fall-winter 2018 show on Thursday and Bottega Veneta’s show on Friday, the model shut down the naysayers in a series of tweets blaming Hashimoto’s disease for any physical change. “For those of you so determined to come up w why my body has changed over the years, you may not know that when I started @ 17 I was not yet diagnosed w/ Hashimoto’s disease; those of u who called me ‘too big for the industry’ were seeing inflammation & water retention due to that,” she wrote to her millions of followers. “I will not further explain the way my body looks, just as anyone, with a body type that doesnt suit ur ‘beauty’ expectation, shouldn’t have to,” she concluded her impassioned series of tweets. “Please, as social media users & human beings in general, learn to have more empathy for others and know that you never really know the whole story. Use your energy to lift those that you admire rather than be cruel to those u don’t.”
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Cardi B’s Front Row Status
What do you get when you put Cardi B, outspoken, unfiltered and entirely raw, next to reserved Vogue Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour? An unforgettable—and quite important–moment. The two women were seated unexpectedly side by side for Alexander Wang‘s showing inside the magazine’s very office on Saturday. “I couldn’t contain myself, but I kept it together,” the Grammy-nominated rapper told E! News afterward. While the seating arrangement immediately went viral, it was also a powerful reminder that, with work and determination, anything is possible, including countless front row seats—and one next to the monarch of fashion herself.
Not only were curves on the runways this season—they were opening the show. Designer Christian Siriano sent a clear message when supermodel Ashley Graham opened his fall-winter 2018 show: all body types are welcome on his runway. Considering it was the 10th anniversary of his eponymous label, Graham’s opening strut was all the more meaningful for the milestone collection and everyone watching. As the body activist put it on social media, “Diversity at its finest last night!”
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Stay tuned all week for more updates, celebrity looks and how-tos from NYFW!