The first show of this fashion season also happened to be the most significant. “Made For History” is a collection of 15 designers’ casual creations—t-shirts, bandanas, a canvas clutch, all on sale today—that not only represents a simple way to declare support for Hillary Clinton’s historic presidential bid, but also, last night, was transformed into a runway performance that was a meaningful kick-off to this fall’s international fashion weeks.
The Players Club step team clad in Public School’s “Make Herstory” tees got things underway with riotous claps, stomps, drums, and whistles courtesy of the Marching Cobras. Not missing a beat, Grace Hartzel and Lineisy Montero took the runway to the sounds of Kendrick Lamar’s “i” wearing Marc Jacobs’s tee, an optical 3-D portrait of Mrs. Clinton, followed by a fittingly all-American look from Tanya Taylor and accessories designer Brett Heyman. The Hiplets, a group of hip-hop ballerinas in Diane von Furstenberg succeeded a squad of skaters who glided around Spring Studios in Rag & Bone; Prabal Gurung’s design, already sold out on the campaign’s website, was accessorized with massive Mylar “HRC” balloons. Tory Burch enlisted families (those of artist Rashid Johnson and Carmelo Anthony, no less) to sport her “Women’s Rights Are Human Rights” tee, whereas Joseph Altuzarra employed French bulldogs and Jason Wu debuted his look with three New York City Ballet principal dancers. Cleo Wade, a model for Thakoon’s bandanas last night, said that the runway experience was a new one for her: “I’m a poet from New Orleans. I’ve never had to walk this fast!” A group of three jewelry designers—Eva Fehren, Pamela Love, and Monique Péan, dubbed “the Bling Ring”— showed together, and Georgina Chapman’s shirts paired with Baroque ball skirts closed the show. All in all, it was crackling succession of mini-productions undertaken by Vogue’s Virginia Smith, Tonne Goodman, Alex Harrington, Helena Suric, and Eaddy Kiernan. The sprawling range of diversity on last night’s runway sent a clear message summarized by Jason Wu, who in describing his hand-painted print of all 50 states, said: “This is about unity.”
Ms. Wintour, in a dress of Wu’s Made For History design, took the stage to introduce Chelsea Clinton, but not before describing her cohost, Huma Abedin as “one of the most tireless workers I know, and one of the most talented organizers in politics.” Wintour went on to characterize Clinton’s record of accomplishments as nearly as impressive as those of her parents: “Chelsea started raising her own daughter while leading a global foundation, writing a book, and teaching. Some people still ask whether a woman can be both a visionary leader and a first-rate mother. Chelsea affirms the one-word answer for my daughter’s generation: Yes.” Before finishing, Wintour emphasized that all of the Made For History clothes are produced in the U.S. by union workers, “unlike the Republican candidate’s unspeakably hideous ties,” a note which elicited cheers.
Clinton herself put the stakes of this presidential election—“the most important of my lifetime”—in no uncertain terms, and warned the audience against complacency this year, revealing that she recently discovered that her own brother-in-law was not registered to vote. After Demi Lovato performed a medley of her hits, Clinton could barely contain herself, rushing back to the stage to announce herself a “huge fan” of the pop star, not only for her music, but also her “tireless advocacy for mental health,” noting that her mother is the first nominee in history to have a comprehensive mental health plan. Both women reminded the showgoers to purchase the collection and, as if on cue, the pop-up shop was mobbed upon exit. As New York Fashion Week comes into full swing—last night saw a Chanel dinner and, personally, I wore my “Make Herstory” shirt to Kanye West’s concert—the least we can do is wear our hearts on our sleeves.