Backstage at Christian Siriano RTW Fall 2019

New York Fashion Week has come and gone, but the buzz surrounding the runways, parties and memorable moments is still going strong.

The fall 2019 runways saw the return of many legendary supermodels: Carolyn Murphy at Ralph Lauren, Patti Hansen at Michael Kors and, closing the week, Christy Turlington Burns at Marc Jacobs. Some designers upped the ante on their finales, like Telfar, which had models do trust falls from the stage, and Cynthia Rowley, who had models jump into a pool after their finale walk.

Inclusivity and diversity continued to be important topics. On Wednesday, the Black Design Collective was formed by designers Angela Dean, Kevan Hall, TJ Walker and Ruth Carter. During the collections, many designers held inclusivity and diversity as a top priority, including Prada, which announced Wednesday that artist and activist Theaster Gates, and director and producer Ava DuVernay, are the co-chairs of its Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Council.

Then of course, there was a surprise performance by none other than Barry Manilow at the Michael Kors show. Unexpected? Yes. Fabulous? Obviously. See below for more.

1. Inclusivity and Diversity — On and Off the Runway

Backstage Chromat RTW Fall 2019

Backstage at the Chromat rtw fall 2019 show.  Megan Cencula/WWD

On and off the runway, inclusivity remained a top priority for many designers. On Wednesday, designers Angela Dean, Kevan Hall, TJ Walker and Ruth Carter announced the creation of the Black Design Collective, which will address issues around inequality in the fashion industry. The organization’s mission is to provide black designers with equal resources, mentorship and opportunities. Coming out of Milan, Prada revealed on Wednesday it’s adding artist and activist Theaster Gates, and director and producer Ava DuVernay, as the co-chairs of the Prada Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Council. The brand stated that it made this decision to “elevate voices of color within the company and the fashion industry at-large.” On the runways, Christian Siriano cast another diverse runway, featuring plus-size models, and Chromat continued its commitment to diverse casting with plus-size models and again featuring model and activist Mama Cax.

2. Legendary Models Make Their Runway Return

Christy Turlington on the catwalkMarc Jacobs show, Fall Winter 2019, New York Fashion Week, USA - 13 Feb 2019

Christy Turlington closes the Marc Jacobs Fall 2019 show.  PIXELFORMULA/SIPA/REX/Shutterstock

There was no shortage of big names walking the runway at New York Fashion Week. The week first started off with Carolyn Murphy making an appearance on the runway at the Ralph Lauren Fall 2019 show, which the designer presented at Ralph’s Coffee at the brand’s Madison Avenue flagship. Later in the week, Christie Brinkley joined her daughter, Sailor Brinkley-Cook, on the runway at Elie Tahari, Pat Cleveland hit the runway at Hellessy, Carol Alt walked the Dennis Basso show, Patti Hansen walked Michael Kors and to finish off the week, Christy Turlington Burns made her runway return after 30 years, closing the Marc Jacobs show.

3. Barry Manilow Sings “Copacabana” at Michael Kors

As the lights dimmed after the last model finished her walk down the runway at the disco-themed Michael Kors show, a curtain was drawn back to reveal, much to everyone’s delight, Barry Manilow clad in a bedazzled orange blazer. The singer started a rendition of his hit song, “Copacabana” as models took their finale walk. The models then made their way to the stage area, where Bella Hadid took Manilow’s hand and danced with the iconic singer.

4. Fun Finale Moments

Telfar RTW Fall 2019

Telfar rtw fall 2019.  Clint Spaulding/WWD

Many designers opted for more playful endings to their runway shows. At Telfar, the designer invited playwright Jeremy O. Harris to put on a mosh pit-inducing performance where models took trust falls into the crowd. Cynthia Rowley made a splash — literally — at her runway show where models took turns jumping into the indoor pool they were walking around. Presenting on the day of the Westminster Kennel Club dog show, Lela Rose enlisted a group of dogs to walk with each model down the runway.

5. Star-Studded Runways

Designers also looked to a number of big names to walk their shows. At its shoppable runway show, size-inclusive e-tailer, 11 Honoré, tapped Laverne Cox to close its show. Cox brought some drama to the runway, twirling and posing dramatically in a flowing red gown by Zac Posen. For his first runway show, Tomo Koizumi enlisted Rowan Blanchard, Emily Ratajkowski, Karen Elson and Gwendoline Christie to show off his multicolored avant-garde designs. At The Blonds, Paris Hilton hit the runway, while Lil’ Kim closed the show, both wearing embellished fringe outfits.

6. Twinning

The week also had its fair share of twinning moments. Staud had its models dance down the runway — at some points sending out two similarly dressed models who also danced in a synchronized fashion. At the front row, Paris and Nicky Hilton showed up at Oscar de la Renta in a matching floral print; Paris wore the design as a white and red dress and Nicky wore it in a white and blue jacket. Outside of the shows, the street style set had a twinning moment when Charlotte Groeneveld and Xenia Adonts wore corresponding outfits of varying green and yellow hues.

7. Some Controversy

Diet Prada Calls Out Christian Siriano for copying Valentino

Fashion watchdog, Diet Prada, calls out Christian Siriano for copying looks from the Valentino spring 2018 couture show.  Diet Prada

It wouldn’t be fashion week without a little controversy. Although coming from Milan, Gucci was embroiled in controversy as the label released a balaclava-style sweater that many said evoked blackface. The item was quickly pulled from Gucci’s web site and stores and both president and chief executive officer, Marco Bizzarri, and creative director, Alessandro Michele, have issued apologies for the incident. Bizzarri is set to travel to Harlem this week to meet with Gucci collaborator, Dapper Dan, and community members to learn more about inclusivity and accountability. Back on the runway, fashion watchdog account, Diet Prada, posted a series of images to Instagram where it called out Christian Siriano for copying designs in its fall 2019 collection from the Valentino spring 2018 couture collection. Siriano quickly responded to the post, stating he is pulling the gowns and will no longer be working with the designer who created the looks.

Read more on New York Fashion Week here: 

Fall Beauty 2019: Hair and Makeup from NYFW

The Fashion Trend Prevailing NYFW? Colorful Coats

Marc Jacobs is Heading to the Suburbs

WATCH: NYFW Fall 2019 Runway Recap

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