It’s early in the week, but already the uncontested winner for the title of most unexpected appearance at New York Fashion Week: Men’s belongs to R. Kelly. The musician and “Trapped in the Closet” auteur turned up Tuesday night at Ovadia & Sons, delaying the show for almost 30 minutes before he emerged to take his seat besides basketball great Dwyane Wade and his wife, Gabrielle Union.
Looking like someone in the Witness Protection Program, Kelly arrived in an all-black get-up, sunglasses, a trilby hat, a heavy beard, and a half-smoked cigar clasped firmly between his fingers.
Once seated, the singer politely took in the show — he didn’t light up — and afterward, traded numbers with Wade before extending the designers his endorsement.
“I loved the show,” he said. “It went too fast for me.” It was surprising to see Kelly, a performer who trades in very adult themes in his music, among the celebrities at Skylight Clarkson Sq, which has been otherwise dominated by Jonas brothers and their ilk. Was Kelly even a fashion consumer?
“You didn’t know I was a fan of fashion? That’s a dis, baby” he said, breaking out into a broad smirk. “You didn’t see me for years wearing all those nice clothes? I love fashion, I’ve always loved fashion.”
A TV reporter asked the singer for his thoughts on the first men’s fashion week and he shot her a “Huh?” look. But to be fair, he’s not the first one to offer similar skepticism.
Finally, Kelly, what’s your brand of cigar? He broke out into a grin again: Cubans. “I love it,” he said. Of course, he does.