At Vogue World, NYFW Dazzle at Street Level

Thankfully, the impending rain on Monday did receive the memo for Vogue World: This was a night for the stars. Shortly after sunset in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District, the fashion show-meets-street fair held in celebration of Vogue’s 130th anniversary kicked off the second half of New York Fashion Week by sending a gaggle of runners in color-blocked marathon gear down West 13th Street, followed by—with a brief pause as the last VIP, Ye, was quickly led to his seat—a processional of young girls in tenniswear led by the magazine’s September cover star, Serena Williams, who was clad in a custom Balenciaga cape and gown. All rise!

Models walk the runway for VOGUE World: New York on September 12, 2022 in New York City. By JP Yim/Vogue/Getty Images.

Michael Kors and Thom BrowneBy Sean Zanni/Vogue/Getty Images.

For anyone wondering how fashion’s linchpin media brand might style an exhibition of its own, the ensuing half hour resembled less of a routine runway show and more of a joyous parade of roughly 100 industry main characters, including Erykah Badu, Adut Akech, Imaan Hammam, Lila Moss, Irina Shayk, Precious Lee, Paloma Elsesser, Quannah Chasinghorse, Emily Ratajkowski, Karlie Kloss, Hari Nef, Jeremy O. Harris, Joan Smalls, and Mikhail Baryshnikov, plus Brooklyn and Nicola Peltz Beckham, all of whom didn’t so much strut down the cobblestones but rather preened and promenaded, grinned and gamboled, like a flotilla of children gleefully departing their last day of school amongst accompanying cadres of dancers, wheelie-popping bikers, a matching set of dalmatians, and one WALL-E–esque robotic camera grabbing all the action—for the live stream. Bella Hadid took at least two solo laps; sister Gigi provided the penultimate act. As for the closer? You’d be hard-pressed to find a more satisfying nightcap than a surprise performance of “Industry Baby” from Lil Nas X, who was flanked by Williams and the Hadid sisters in matching swaths of silver. Now this was a show for the people!

Did it matter that Vogue World guests were seeing designer clothes that had technically already debuted in the world for the fall/winter 2022 collections? Negative. Then again, the evening’s cumulative wattage was high enough that the clothing itself seemed almost secondary. Spotted in the front row: Travis Barker, fresh from his set at Sunday’s rain-soaked Tommy Hilfiger show, with Kourtney Kardashian; Doja Cat with whorls of white painted all over her face and scalp; K-pop idol and NCT member Jeno, set to open Tuesday’s Peter Do show; Ansel Elgort’s mass of curls in deep conversation with Dove Cameron; Kyle Kuzma and Winnie Harlow; and Jared Leto in a floral Gucci caftan.

Jared Leto and Kanye WestBy Sean Zanni/Vogue/Getty Images.

By Sean Zanni/Vogue/Getty Images.

Erykah Badu walks the runway at VOGUE WorldBy Sean Zanni/Vogue/Getty Images.

BySean Zanni/Vogue/Getty Images.

Once the runway cleared, Vogue World shifted into phase two: street-fair mode. However, if the idea was to find oneself elbow to elbow with a celeb or two at Fendi’s (literal) baguette stand, you’d have been left in want. It turned out, though, that there were very few dopamine withdrawals that Michael Kors x Katz’s pastrami sandwiches, Magnolia Bakery pudding from the Banana Republic stand, or a tin of Gucci Osteria cookies (in collaboration with Massimo Bottura) couldn’t lift. I personally appreciated the commitment to the street-fair bit, to the extent that a set of smoke machines and artfully arranged wooden crates had been employed to create a kind of edgy night-market vibe—if said night market happened to have a Burberry tea cart and left you with a seriously crazed case of the shoppies after staring full bore into the white-hot sun of sartorial fluorescence for a couple of hours. What can I say? Vogue certainly knows how to put on a show, just as well as it knows how to make the sale.

Jeremy O. Harris attends VOGUE WorldBy Sean Zanni/Vogue/Getty Images.

Gigi Hadid walks the runway for VOGUE WorldBy JP Yim/Vogue/Getty Images.

Lil Nas X performs during VOGUE WorldBy Sean Zanni/Vogue/Getty Images.

Emily Ratajkowski walks the runway for VOGUE WorldBy JP Yim/Vogue/Getty Images.

Doja Cat, Sabrina Carpenter, Laura Harrier, Dove Cameron, Ansel Elgort, Kourtney Kardashian and Travis Barker attend VOGUE WorldBy Sean Zanni/Vogue/Getty Images.

Imaan Hammam walks the runway for VOGUE WorldBy JP Yim/Vogue/Getty Images.

Latto (R) attends VOGUE WorldBy Sean Zanni/Vogue/Getty Images.

Paloma Elsesser walks the runway for VOGUE WorldBy JP Yim/Vogue/Getty Images.

Bella Hadid walks the runway for VOGUE WorldBy JP Yim/Vogue/Getty Images.

Serena Williams walks the runway for VOGUE WorldBy JP Yim/Vogue/Getty Images.