Two words need only describe the beginning of New York Fashion Week 2017: total chaos.
By Day 3 of the semiannual event, celebrities and their designer counterparts had turned NYFW shows and after-parties into the world’s trendiest waiting rooms and fight clubs.
As is usually the case, fashion media and industry insiders can request a seat at any given designer show and be approved, denied, or offered standing-room space. Seating charts are meticulously arranged (and rearranged) in the minutes leading up to a show itself, ensuring that front rows are padded with household names like Anna Wintour and Sarah Jessica Parker, as was the case at Raf Simon’s Calvin Klein debut on Friday. After-parties, too, consist of a careful curation of celebs, editors, stylists, and friends.
But it seems that, for a few events that have kicked off NYFW, credentials mean little.
On Friday night, fashion followers split their time between Jason Wu, Jeremy Scott, and VFiles. The latter two turned out to be overbooked and fraught with disorder, as show producers refused entry to journalists and editors waiting to take the seats they’d been assigned.
At Jeremy Scott, editors from a handful of fashion publications were herded like (well-dressed) cattle outside the show, despite arriving early and having a seat assignment — probably the fault of someone whose last name is Kardashian.
The VFiles show was much the same. According to show coordinators, last-minute seating rearrangements left fashion media relegated to “standing” room, or if you were really special, “priority standing.” Security turned away hundreds who waited in line for 45 minutes after passing through security and bag check (not to be confused with the other few hundred who couldn’t even get into the venue itself).
While most insiders buzzed that the event of the night would be the Calvin Klein after-party, the real mayhem ensued during the F Is for … Fendi Launch Party. The invitation promised models like Joan Smalls and Kendall Jenner, and about 30 other celebrities and performers.
Held near the South Street Seaport in lower Manhattan, the party was a manic scene, with floods of people crowding three different entrances trying to get into the event. Flashing a ticket was useless. At only 10:30 p.m., there were, by this writer’s estimation, at least 400 people waiting to get inside, most of whom were not on any guest list.
A photo posted by Sidney Pacampara (@sidpierre) on Feb 10, 2017 at 10:43pm PST
The crowd was agitated and testy, but not yet completely unmanageable. A handful of doormen, whose voices boomed like thunder over the crowd, demanded that people step back.
“We are at capacity!” one of them, elevated on a barrier, shouted at the crowd. Coloring his language with a handful of four-letter expletives, he warned people to stand back and remain orderly, lest the party be shut down.
For a few minutes, people seemed to respond by lining up against the building’s wall. Then, seemingly without provocation, the crowd, filled with models like Shaun Ross, turned violent. Barriers were overrun as people tried to rush inside. A man working the door blocked the entryway with his body, a brave endeavor he soon gave up on, allowing two or three people in at a time to appease the angry mob.
After an hour and a half, only a handful of people had made it inside. The cavernous concrete warehouse was far from “at capacity,” as one nearby attendee grudgingly noted. There was a small, open bar opposite a pseudo-stage, and gigantic speakers blared trap music. The intermission from mayhem was brief.
Migos, a rap trio famous for the song “Bad and Boujee,” took the stage, and the audience lost any sense of decorum. The dance floor turned mosh pit; crowd surfing ensued. “Fashion Killa” A$AP Rocky and rapper Tyler, the Creator were spotted onstage behind Migos. The scene was complete pandemonium. While Migos didn’t perform one of their biggest singles, “Fight Night,” that didn’t seem to deter a handful of partygoers who brawled just minutes into the rappers’ set.
Security guards threw some men who’d started the fight onto the ground, and the surrounding crowd jeered as if they were front row at a primetime UFC match. Drinks shattered, leaving shards of glass strewn about.
Security quickly escorted the A$AP gang and Migos off the stage. The party ended — but only for a few minutes. Soon after, dancing resumed; a swarm of chiseled (and very young) male models swayed toward the back. Model and “Wang Gang” member Lexi Boling proved she was tougher than most, cast into the crowd like anyone else. Rapper 21 Savage, who performed earlier that night at the VFiles show, took the stage later.
By 2 a.m., battered and bruised, some decided to call it a night. New York Fashion Week had only begun, after all.
Alexandra Mondalek is a writer for Yahoo Style and Beauty. Follow her on Twitter @amondalek.