A model walks out. Then another. Then another. Then the Designer. Then there's applause. That's been the fashion show formula since time immemorial — well, since Paris in the thirties — but this past week in New York, that went out the window. Or rather, dropped from a great height via a crotch harness which was then unbuckled for the runway walk.
More than any other season in memory, designers did very public stunt shows this week. Like Elise Overland's show on ice, which starred the newly fledged fixture that is Johnny Weir, and a gigantic ice sculpture that had that morning been in a Pennsylvania lake. “It is a slash between a nuclear tower and an igloo,” Overland explained. “If it is just an igloo, it is too romantic for me. I’m not romantic."
Catherine Malandrino is; her show took place in slightly dingy former offices of the New York Times. The Times Square building is soon going to be converted into a hotel, and Malandrino said, “This made it more exciting, like it was an installation that would soon disappear.” Malandrino chanced upon the site during an extensive scouting search. “The space reminded me of the photographer Peter Lindbergh when he would set up a model in a raw space with daylight. Ten minutes before we opened the show I was looking at the space and I thought, This is a moment of magic."
Andrew Buckler didn't even need a roof; he shut down the street in front of his store and used it as a runway. Siki Im had a runway made out of dirt and Native Americans chanting and beating drums. Moncler had a flash mob dance performance in Grand Central, and Thom Browne showed his women's collection in the august wood-paneled interior of the New Your Public Library. But the biggest stunt goes to Band of Outsiders, whose mountain-climbing-inspired show opened with models rappelling down from the ceiling.
“It was wicked!” enthused model Jonatan Frenk. "At the casting, Sternberg asked, 'Are you scared of heights?' And then we had to try on the harness.” The safety measures were high, but Frenk would have liked a little more thrill. "I was surprised about how slow it was,” he says. “I thought it was going to be a freefall drop.”
Click to see all the out-there venues.