With Caitlyn Jenner’s status as a style star—and LGBTQ rights activist—fast on the rise, it seemed inevitable that the former Olympian-turned-reality TV regular would be situated front row at the biggest shows of New York Fashion Week. Her daughter Kendall is now a bona fide fixture on the runway, and her stepdaughter, Kim Kardashian, son-in-law Kanye West, and youngest daughter, Kylie, have all made appearances at shows this season. Why not Caitlyn?
The fashion world was waiting with bated selfie sticks—but five days in, there was still no Jenner.
But maybe—JUST maybe—all was not lost! Rumor had it that Jenner would be making an appearance at Zac Posen’s spring 2016 show, taking place at Grand Central Station Monday evening. It made perfect sense: Jenner famously posed in a dramatic, off-the-shoulder gown by Posen for her “Call Me Caitlyn” Vanity Fair reveal editorial, and since no one else in her family swings towards the designer’s style, she wouldn’t be competing with any of them for attention in the front row. With all the attention surrounding her right now, it makes sense that she’d be on the lookout for some fancy new threads—and, of course, make her fashion week debut.
I felt a bolt of excitement and anticipation run through me as I walked past the mobs of celeb-watchers, American Express card carriers, and protesters (why?) outside Grand Central and into the cavernous Vanderbilt Hall. With its glittering chandeliers and mile-high ceilings, the space seemed made for a designer whose wares are as elegant and classy as Posen’s.
Christina Hendricks, Amy Schumer, Jennifer Hudson, Zac Posen, and Bella Thorne backstage at Posen’s Spring ‘16 show. Photo: Getty
Pausing at the entrance as guests continued filing in, I surveyed the chaotic scene of schmoozers and photographers and stressed out PRs. There was Jennifer Hudson, posing with fans in a perfectly chic in a bright fuchsia pencil dress and close-cropped pixie. Mad Men’s Christina Hendricks, now more of a strawberry blonde than ginger, looked sweet with ringlets and a printed, Mandarin-inspired dress as she took interviews. Sia video starlet Maddie Ziegler, was adorable and age appropriate in a sleeveless lime green getup and (quelle surprise!) ballerina bun, and street style legend Bill Cunningham, dressed in his blue jacket uniform, hobbled around with his camera and a cane after hurting his knee in a bicycle accident this summer.
Also worth noting: Bella Thorne and Amy Schumer, both wearing crisp white collared tops, unbuttoned down to their bras, stayed seated throughout the pre-show portion of the night. When I asked Schumer if she was taking interviews, she replied sardonically, “No, but you kind of just got one by asking that.” When I then asked if I could take her picture, instead, she turned towards me and pursed her lips.
Celebrities—both mingling and anti-social—aside, I could only think of one thing: Where the eff is Caitlyn? As guests began taking their seats, I looked around for an empty one that might be filled by C.J. at the last second. Or maybe Posen’s people were so on top of it, they’d hired a chair filler. My friend and former colleague, Fashionista’s Dhani Mau, had another idea: “Maybe she’ll walk down the runway?” I wasn’t ruling it out just yet. At 6′2″, she does have height on her side.
A taste of what Caitlyn missed. Photos: Vogue.com
Well, suffice it to say… Caitlyn Jenner did not. But what did walk down the runway was also good, just in a different way: It was a more pared-down version of Zac Posen than we’re used to seeing, with fewer over the top glam gowns (though there were still a few) and more mix-n-matchable separates in crisp white, black, and navy—plus one bright red strapless frock for good measure. Lots of draped satin, a bit of sparkle, tailored silhouettes, and some culottes and cut-outs, because it seems we aren’t done with those quite yet.
I’d wear it, if I could afford it. And you know who else would? Caitlyn Jenner. Which is why it’s such a shame she couldn’t make it to see the show in real life. I mean… I just really think she would’ve enjoyed herself.