Leave it to Christian Cowan to bring not just a little life but a whole lot of star power to a New York Fashion Week that’s in the middle of its virtual-only doldrums.
For the designer’s fall ’21 ready-to-wear show, presented virtually on the last official day of NYFW, Paris Hilton joined models such as Justine Skye, Aqua Parios, Mermaid and “Saturday Night Live” comedians Chloe Fineman and Bowen Yang in a film depicting a crystal-covered romp at New York’s Pierre Hotel that brings its viewers back to the 2000s with throwback statement looks — and one key accessory from the era.
Titled “A Fashion Thing,” the film begins with Fineman and Yang sitting in the empty ballroom of the Pierre, where they hear a phone ringing under a silver cloche. Underneath it lies a pink crystal-studded Motorola Razr phone straight from 2003. When they answer, it’s Hilton on the other line. “Are you the models?” she asks over video chat, wearing a hot-pink dress to match her own crystal studded flip phone. When they ask her what to do to be a model, she tells them, “Just be yourselves” — which is apparently an existential question for the actors.
Cut to a music-fashion montage of Mermaid, Aqua Parios, Jari Jones, Parker Kit Hill and more posing and dancing in various locations inside the hotel, along to the song “It Girl” by Slayyyter. “P-A-R-I-S, I’m an It girl…” The cameo is apt timing for the 2000s “It” girl, who just announced her engagement to Carter Reum on Wednesday and has herself been returning to her favorite early-aughts style.
Throughout the film, Cowan’s clothing is as outrageous as ever, but with a definitive 2000s-meets-2021 twist. There are bright colors, oranges and pinks studded in crystals. There were sequin mini dresses, a hooded black gown, black-and-white faux fur. Yang wears a pair of purple sequined pajamas, while Fineman sports a lavender-and-cream, faux-fur coat and matching sequined cut-out dress. Some of the collection’s stars even carried Swarovski-studded bags by early-aughts accessories legend Judith Leiber.
On foot, the collection included shoes by Giuseppe Zanotti, who has collaborated with the designer in recent years on styles like fake-Rolex-accented sandals. The watch sandals made an appearance, along with crystal-studded wedge sandals that laced up the calf, ankle-strap white sandals with a gold anklet motif and classic pumps covered by crystal-embellished hosiery to match monochrome looks. There was even a pair of purple sequined slippers to match Yang’s pajamas.