Jonathan Simkhai might live in Los Angeles now, but Saturday night was all about paying homage to his hometown.
A few hours after showing his latest collection nearby on an outdoor balcony in TriBeCa, the designer and native New Yorker hosted a dinner at Ava, the Public’s outdoor private events space. “It feels so overwhelming; I’ve been in L.A. this whole time and this is so…” the designer trailed off, taking in the lit-up downtown Manhattan cityscape views from the hotel’s breezy 17th floor.
“Showing today, I really wanted to lean into the city and the skyline and to celebrate how resilient we are as a city and as New Yorkers,” he added as guests including Laverne Cox, Kathryn Gallagher, Savannah Smith, Krysta Rodriguez, Ruby Aldridge and Barbie Ferreira took their seats at round tables accented with taper candles. “It’s almost like you’re going through the motions, and the break and the pause of not showing for the past 18 months — I came back and I wanted it so bad, and I missed the experience. I had a new appreciation,” added Simkhai, and he clearly wasn’t alone in that sentiment. Everyone seemed in good spirits on the penultimate evening of New York Fashion Week.
In addition to celebrating his latest collection and the return of fashion week, the dinner paid poignant tribute to the 20th anniversary of 9/11. The evening supported Tuesday’s Children, an organization that provides support for families impacted by Sept. 11.
“One of the things that I thought was so important is ‘we never want to forget,’ but we also want to move forward. I made every effort to keep moving forward through everything,” he said. “It’s all about giving back and finding ways to tie something in. Obviously we’re all here, we’re all fashion people, and we all have so much to be grateful for. To be at dinner and to sit down and enjoy all these beautiful faces — that’s not everything.”
“People lost so many loved ones,” he continued. “It feels like there’s so much s–t going on — and somehow we still have to get dressed every day, and we have to put our shoes on and go out and face the world and try to have the best time. So this is it, this is my version of it.”
MORE FASHION WEEK COVERAGE FROM THE EYE: