NYFW Kicked Off With A Fashion Show On An Airplane — No, Really

Photo: Hannelore Foerster/Getty Images.
A fashion show is already a pretty stressful event: Guests are rushing from one venue to another, nothing starts until at least 20 minutes after the scheduled start time, and the looks aren't truly finalized until the model sets foot on the catwalk. Factor in a heat wave or a snow storm (depending on whether it's September or February), and any illusion of order is thrown out the window. The only thing that could possibly heighten tensions all around would be if you displaced the flock from Manhattan to, say, an airport terminal — you know, a place universally adored by all. Well, Rubin Singer will raise the stakes even further: The designer literally took to the skies for spring '17. The New York-based designer teamed up with Lufthansa to kick off the German airline's fashion-themed FlyingLab program. The idea is that, during a flight from Frankfurt that lands in NYFC on the first day of Fashion Week, passengers can become immersed in the destination ahead of their scheduled arrival time. Their transatlantic ticket included back-to-back seat-side fashion shows, according to Condé Nast Traveler — one was a a retrospective of Lufthansa's uniforms,and the other was Singer's "see now, buy now" spring '17 collection.
Surprisingly enough, this isn't a totally new concept. Finnair hosted a multi-designer fashion show at Helsinki Airport in March 2016. Still, Singer took the whole "alternative presentation" shtick to literal new heights, staging his catwalk in the aisles of a 747-8 jet, mid-flight — and, according to a release, it marks the first time a designer presents a collection at 30,000 feet in the air. "As a designer, I’m always interested in finding new ways to present my collection," Singer said in the release. "Showing up in the air, over the Atlantic was truly a unique fashion moment like nothing I’ve ever done or seen."
Now, here's how one pulls off a fashion show within the confines of a commercial aircraft: The center aisle served as a catwalk (those with limited-visibility window seats could watch the show through an in-flight conference), while the upper deck operated as the de facto backstage, per WWD. Passengers could then shop the collection at retail partners like Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, and Nordstrom. Luckily, it seems there was no crowding around the bathrooms come show time, so the path was clear for the models once the program began.
The audience (i.e. the passengers) included a mix of German influencers and regular travelers who maybe just wanted to catch up on some summer blockbusters during the nine-hour flight. Still, photos and videos uploaded to Instagram show that even those who perhaps weren't expecting to attend a Fashion Week event got into it. They may not have removed their noise-canceling headphones, but they sure did take plenty of pictures, presumably for Instagram, as the models walked by.
All in all, is this Fashion Week alternative unique? Sure. However...Would we ever wish for yet another obstacle to our overhead bin and bathroom access during an international flight? Probably not. So, we join our friends at Racked in the hope that transatlantic fashion shows don't go the "see now, buy now" route and suddenly become a thing. Please?

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