As New York Fashion Week has grown, so has the level of celebrations and showcases that happen far from the runways. You know, where you can find the actual fashion.
It no longer takes a front-row seat to see your favorite musicians anymore (though, Rolling Stone is there too) — just sneak into the afters. And while much discourse has been made about gatekeeping fashion week from influencers and scene newcomers — many performances happen for brands that aren’t even on the NYFW official schedule — you have to admit a good set in a cool venue makes everything a little more exciting. From J.Crew’s big kickoff to Ice Spice turning up on the bar at Dion Lee’s after-party, here are some of our favorite New York Fashion Week performances this season.
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The Strokes at J.Crew
The ultimate way to kick off fashion week? Bringing the Strokes, a band that formed in New York to play an outdoor set at Pier 17 for J.Crew’s 40th anniversary celebration. A stamp that what you did mattered: being poked fun at by the not-so-niche-anymore fashion and culture Instagram page Nolita Dirtbag. This is the second New York Fashion Week in a row in which J.Crew has thrown a FOMO-inducing event featuring an epic musical guest. Last February, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs rang in J.Crew’s first menswear collection by Brendon Babenzien.
Ms. Lauryn Hill at Soho House
Part of New York Fashion Week is about performances from the biggest musicians in places you won’t see them in every day. So it was especially special to see Ms. Lauryn Hill, who graced Soho House’s 20th anniversary event, as a “last-minute surprise.” She performed some of her fan favorites on a rooftop in the Meatpacking District.
Ice Spice at Dion Lee
You can’t talk New York Fashion Week afterparties or musical guests without mentioning the Boom Boom Room. Ice Spice — who’s been seemingly everywhere the past week, including showing up for a Best New Artist win at MTV’s Video Music Awards — hopped on the venue’s bar to deliver renditions of some of her biggest hits at Dion Lee’s post-show féte. And for those wondering when people have time to eat while hopping from show to show, Avril Lavigne posted up in the VIP section with a slice of pizza the size of her head.
Leon Bridges at Rebecca Minkoff
The Silver Lining piano lounge and its rowdy sister nightclub, Loosie’s, are the new kids on the Lower East Side but have become a hub for musicians when the shows finish. Givenchy creative director Matthew M. Williams kicked off fashion week with a mixtape listening, DJ and socialite Zack Bia played a Saturday night set, but the crème de la crème was Leon Bridges’ soothing and soulful set during Rebecca Minkoff’s afterparty. A fan trying to form a connection (aren’t we all) yelled out to Bridges that he was from Texas — a fitting intro for a beautiful rendition of “Texas Sun.”
Central Cee at Rimowa
Central Cee traded Chelsea in West London for Chelsea, Manhattan, and pulled up to a block party celebrating the Rimowa SEIT 1898 exhibition. In terms of star power, Rimowa’s contribution to the New York Fashion Week party circuit brought out a whole artillery: Spike Lee hung out on a platform featuring his own contribution to the exhibit, and Rose of Blackpink posed for photographs in front of the iconic aluminum cases. Central Cee ran through some of his bigger hits, including his song with Dave, “Sprinter,” the one you kept hearing if you were outside at all this summer on both sides of the pond.
Lil Yachty at YSL Beauty
Facing a sea of people dressed in black (in true YSL Beauty fashion), Lil Yachty popped out at Times Square’s dimly lit Paradise Club. “I feel good,” Yachty said halfway through a short set. “I look good today… Y’all can just look at me. I look at y’all. You look at me. I think it’d be way more entertaining if we just looked at each other.” After opening with his viral track, “Poland,” Yachty continued with a couple more fan favorites, including the standalone single “Strike (Holster).” To the left of the stage, a gaggle of fans partied hard, commiserating with the rapper that not everyone was there to rage. Yachty disagreed. “Nah, I like it,” the star said. “I love being around a lot of pretty faces.”
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