There’s a new fashionable acronym floating around this week, and it’s not NYFW. It’s NFT.
Non-fungible tokens, more often referred to as NFTs, took center stage during Rebecca Minkoff’s NYFW showcase on Friday. They came in the form of a 15-piece NFT drop featuring clothes and accessories from the designer’s latest fashion collection. Ten of the NFTs were photos of models in the outfits, and five were “digital garments” — or virtual, 3D renderings of the clothes that can ultimately be used on avatars in a number of future metaverses. Yahoo was the official innovation partner for the event.
Notably, Rebecca Minkoff was also celebrating its 20-year anniversary. The show’s theme, “I Love New York,” was a throwback to the shirts that the brand first debuted at NYFW on Sept. 10, 2001. After the terrorist attack on September 11, Minkoff sold the shirts, with proceeds going to the Red Cross. The NFT proceeds will also be donated, to the Female Founders Collective. The NFT auction concludes on Sunday at 5 p.m. ET.
“The collection was really inspired by that [experience],” said Minkoff. “New York is tough and gritty, and my brand is known for [incorporating] chains, studs and zippers. So I’m combining those elements.”
Minkoff is set to dress surrealist makeup artist Mimi Choi (@mimles, 1.6 million Instagram followers) for a metaverse Met Gala, taking place on September 17 during Crypto Fashion Week.
In 2019, another metaverse Met Gala occurred on the IMVU metaverse, where users create avatars and dress them in clothes that were designed by fellow users. The pieces can be bought with credits that are paid for with real money. IMVU’s virtual store features 50 million items made by over 200,000 creators. Fourteen billion credits, or $14 million, exchange hands via over 27 million transactions each month. According to the company, its users grew by 44% during the pandemic, and it now has 7 million active users a month. Most of them are female or female-identifying, and ages 18-24.
“If you view the metaverse as a way for brands [to distribute themselves], whether it’s advertising or marketing, you’re going to see it become more valuable — especially with the rise of women playing these video games,” said Minkoff.
Yahoo also partnered with brand Christian Cowen, which will hold its in-person runway show on Friday night. Instead of just the designer’s clothes premiering on the runway, Christian Cowan will take center stage as a photoreal hologram through a series of QR codes. The idea is to give people an up-close and personal experience with the designer.
“The ability to bring all of our followers who are at home into the collection and the runway show in such an intimate way feels really special,” said Christian Cowan. “And allowing our customers more in-depth [visibility to] the pieces they are getting just adds so much to the retail experience.”
At large, technology has continued to underpin NYFW over the last few years. Luxury women’s ready-to-wear label Sergio Hudson has a partnership with Pinterest and aired its collection virtually on the platform on Thursday night. NYFW, as a whole, is sponsored by Afterpay, a payment-focused technology company dedicated to making expensive items more economically accessible. The overall use of tech as a democratizer this season, whether via NFTs and the metaverse or new access to a designer, is a notable evolution for the industry event, which was previously sponsored by Mercedes-Benz and Lexus.
Meanwhile, augmented reality app YouCam announced on Friday the ability for brands to present complete step-by-step beauty tutorials of their featured looks, complete with brushstroke overlay animation. The feature is meant to virtually educate customers on correct makeup application techniques and provide a one-of-a-kind makeup tutorial experience. It will debut on September 12-14 with makeup artists at NYFW’s The Nolcha Shows.
Tonight’s shows include Alice & Olivia, Coach, Eckhaus Latta, Christian Cowan and Brandon Maxwell. LaSette will host a NYFW afterparty at the Jimmy SoHo Rooftop starting at 6 p.m. ET.
4 questions with Markarian’s Alexandra O’Neill
Markarian, which is named after a celestial grouping of stars, held its first NYFW show in the brand’s 4-year history. It was aptly held at the Rainbow Room where guests were served G&Ts, martinis and French 75 cocktails.
What’s the backstory of today’s show and location?
I wanted to provide the experience of when someone comes to our West Village showroom. We wanted to do a slightly more intimate show, and I wanted it to have an Old World, prolonged type of feeling. For the clothing, we’ve gone back [to more] whimsical, fantastical pieces that are beautiful, but still wearable. The Rainbow Room is covered in crystals, and nobody loves crystals more than me.
As this is your first NYFW show, what does this moment mean to you?
We’re rooted in New York and make everything [we produce] in the city. We strongly believe in supporting the Garment District and the beautiful craftsmanship that exists there. Being able to show in New York Fashion Week and have a fashion show is incredible and exciting. It’s such a nice feeling to be able to support New York in an additional way.
Where did you derive inspiration for this collection?
I usually draw a lot of inspiration from traveling and seeing different people in different places, and architecture. Obviously, travel has been pretty limited, so I’ve been looking to more local things. I’ve been watching a lot of old movies — that’s something that I used to do growing up with my grandparents. My favorites are “High Society” and “The Philadelphia Story” and “The Maltese Falcon.” But also “How to Marry a Millionaire,” which is a reference for our show.
How will you celebrate or unwind after the show?
I will most likely just crash and veg out, to be totally honest.
“I don’t understand; why are these shoes in the show? We should have returned them.” –an Alice & Olivia employee backstage
Many guests waited over an hour to enter the elevators leading up to the LaQuan Smith show on Thursday, after which several were sent home due to capacity. LaQuan Smith was the first designer ever to hold a show at the Empire State Building. Notable attendees included Kylie Jenner and Ciara, while supermodels Barbara Palvin and Taylor Hill walked the runway.
Actresses Kate Hudson and Hailee Steinfeld were spotted at the Michael Kors runway show held in the Theatre District early Friday morning. Drawing on the theme of “urban romance,” Kors’ spring collection served as a love letter to New York City, according to show notes. Odes to New York have been a pervasive theme following the devastating effects of Covid-19 and at the 20-year anniversary of the September 11 attacks.