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CHICAGO — It’s hard to argue with La Pig.
This story first appeared in the August 26, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Billed as a surprise guest at Macy’s Glamorama in Chicago, Miss Piggy emerged in grand style, wearing her own customized Marc Jacobs black dress glimmering with silver polkadots — only to notice a runway model in the same ensemble.
After a momentary stare down, Miss Piggy, who accessorized her LBD with silver, long gloves, declared it no contest.
“It looks better on moi,” she dismissed.
That said, it’s hard to determine what was the biggest draw — the clever quips from Miss Piggy, the smooth dance moves and songs from Grammy award-winning Ne-Yo, or the Eighties-inspired fashions (think almost neon bright coats, MC Hammer-ish pleated pants, all-out shoulder pads and distressed denim) parading down the runway at the city’s Chicago Theatre last Friday.
In all, however, it was the men’s version of a wet underwear contest that caused the greatest uproar, eliciting the most screams, applause and hoots as a handful of chiseled male models made their way to the tip of the runway donning only Papi underwear, previously drenched by an onstage rain curtain to the apt song “It’s Raining Men.”
It was all part of Glamorama’s 2009 fusion theme, meaning, in other words, anything goes.
Featured fashions, in turn, ran the gamut from the bright pink, blue and green strong-shouldered coats by Marc Jacobs to a collection of rocker chic styles from Just Cavalli and bondage-inspired black apparel from Jean Paul Gaultier, which was clearly relayed to the audience with models donning fabric masks over a portion of their faces and one tapping a whip in her hand while Marilyn Manson sang “Some of them want to abuse you, Some of them want to be abused,” in his cover of the Eurythmics’ hit “Sweet Dreams.”
Other highlights included an amusing, well-executed cover of Britney Spears’ “Toxic” by jazz trio The New Standards, who served as a backdrop to tailored urban ensembles by Sportmax.
Meanwhile, Ne-Yo, who sported suits from Alfani Red (he is the line’s new spokesman) and his protégé, new pop artist Jayden Maria, heightened excitement between designer segments.
Almost 3,000 people attended Glamorama, raising $200,000 for the Ronald McDonald House.
Following the decidedly retro feel of the fashions, the evening’s post-party struck a more modern vibe with girls clad in cocktail dresses discarding their heels for a round of Dance Dance Revolution and more than a few men trying their hand at a large virtual game of golf, or random Wii games set up around the food and bar stations on the seventh floor of Macy’s on State Street.
Calling this a “jewel in the crown,” of Macy’s events, Martine Reardon, executive vice president of marketing, noted company executives in attendance including Ron Klein, chief stores officer, and Julie Greiner, chief merchandising planning officer, turned out for either Glamorama’s Chicago or Minneapolis version, which was held Aug. 14.
Prior to the show, Ne-Yo said working with Macy’s is a bit of a surprise, admitting he was not always known for his keen fashion sense.
Calling himself the “outcast weird guy” in high school, the singer said he wore his hair longer and developed a love for hats, much to his teachers’ chagrin.
Going with a low-key look to meet media, Ne-Yo, also known as Shaffer Smith, appeared relaxed wearing a black Calvin Klein track jacket, knit hat and Chrome Hearts black framed glasses. “Contrary to popular belief, I’ve never been the cute guy,” he said, noting he takes his style more seriously now.
The singer, who titled his last album “Year of the Gentleman” and often appears onstage in a suit, tie and hat, said he offered fashion advice on the Alfani Red line, noting his preference for men’s suit jackets to have shorter sleeves to show some cuff and for shorter-brimmed fedoras.
Ne-Yo also proved he has a sense of humor, taking the stage following the raucous Papi beefcake finale and revealing his desire to participate.
But, he said, “They didn’t want me to make the other models look bad.”