Can designers be rock stars? Ask Raf Simons. When the newly anointed head of Calvin Klein took the microphone at Friday night’s after party, a crush of fans pushed towards the stage, as if he were a Beatle. There was artist Casey Spooner asking for a photo. There was actress Kate Bosworth cheering from the back. And there was Mr. Simons, keeping the exuberant crowd quiet with one raised hand. The humble Belgian thanked his team, Oscar-style, and then introduced his first DJ, The Black Madonna. (Just FYI, she’s not black and her name’s not really Madonna. But she’s good at playing techno.)
“You love Calvin Klein,” Simons told the rapt audience. “And Calvin Klein loves this.” He gestured to the massive sound system around him, and the dancing kids at the front. “We love the music and the friends—enjoy!” The crowd chanted his name a few times, and well-wishers like Moonlight’s Ashton Sanders swarmed the style star. And then the bass got turned up, the floor started to shake, and everyone went (even more) nuts. There was a lot to celebrate as Raf Simons’ debut collection for Calvin Klein was seen as a solid success—something New York Fashion Week was in dire need of.
“I’ve walked for Raf four times,” said model Montell Martin. “He put me in my first show. It was mental that first time, but this feels different. Being in his first Calvin Klein show in New York—you could feel how significant it was.” Does that make this party important, too? “I mean, it’s like a really good party,” Martin laughed. “The music is rad.” We’ll trust him since he’s from the club kid capital of London, and also because he’s crazy adorable.
Nearby, model Aline Weber climbed a pole for a better look at the packed crowd, while sisters Alexandra and Theodora Richards danced to German house music with their backs against the thumping amps. “I guess this is the loudest place in the room,” Theodora said, “but I love the noise. I mean, I was pretty much born on a speaker.” (For those three people who don’t know this: her dad is actual rock star Keith Richards.) Alexandra agreed: “You have to let yourself go sometimes or you’ll go insane.”
But Simons’ theme for the new Calvin collection was Americana, and we might already be going insane. So while Bryanboy downed champagne on the pulsing dance floor, the real world crept into the girl’s bathroom. “Do you think Donald Trump livestreamed the Calvin show?” smirked one celebrity stylist to her friend. “He could tweet about it!” laughed the other. “Calvin Klein. American designer. Now Belgian dude. Models at the party wouldn’t dance with me. Said I was scary and orange. Sad!”
For Raf x Calvin, it was yet another rave review.