Take it from a journalist who has covered enough fashion weeks to satisfy one’s curiosities about them-fashion shows aren’t what they seem on the outside. Look closer and you can spot the overworked, sleep-deprived and highly caffeinated journos in the second and third rows of the shows. But the FROW (front row) is where the glamour resides, sometimes even more exuberant than what’s presented on the runway. And this year, the FROW has been pulling scene-stealing stunts at the Spring-Summer 2023 presentations , giving off a major ‘Main Character’ vibe. And what’s the theme, you ask? Mid-2000s NYC girl who works hard and plays harder. And serving up these ‘lewks’ are mid-2000s IT girls who have transitioned into cultural icons in their own right.
Mid-2000s Darlings At The FROW
Let’s start with Anne Hathaway; the protagonist of the highly-quotable The Devil Wears Prada. Stunning Annie showed up looking like her character Andrea from the 2006 hit. The curtain bangs, high pony, turtleneck, long leather jacket and knee-high boots are recipe for a heartfelt throwback. Engaged in conversation with Anna Wintour, the two FROW guests cut a figure straight out of the film. Add Meryl Streep to the mix and fans of the movie will collectively lose their minds. Annie knew exactly what she was doing, and that too at a Michael Kors presentation at New York Fashion Week. The quintessential American Designer, Kors designs for NYC women who need fashionable ensembles that they can wear on the subway. And Annie showing up as Andrea, an overworked but excitable fashion assistant is just so meta, we love it!
An unexpected stand-out at the FROW this year was Katie Holmes for Tom Ford. Why unexpected? Katie is not your usual fashion week celebrity-spotting. The actress has reigned back her public appearances in recent years, making her meet-up with Ford at the FROW all the more exciting. A mid-2000s icon herself, Katie’s star-making role on Dawson’s Creekwhich aired its final episode in 2003, solidified her ‘IT’ girl status. But Katie was hardly ever edgy; the carefully-crafted ‘Girl Next Door’ image has stayed with her through her career. So when she showed up in a Grace Jones-Esque avatar paired with baby bangs and an androgynous makeup brief, we gasped. Katie “ate” with her NYFW appearance; denim jacket-clad Joey Potter will be proud!
The Supermodel Effect
What happened to the Supermodel? The fashion world today has diversified to the point where you have brands indulging in all kinds of collaborations. From influencer marketing to celebrity ambassadors and even Twitch games, advertising and campaigns are no longer limited to featuring one face. But every coin has two sides and the diversification of branding has led to the death of the supermodel. There was a time when Pepsi’s brand recall only consisted of Cindy Crawford in a white top and blue jeans, courtesy of the iconic 1992 advert. The supermodel effect today can only be felt when runway veterans like Naomi Campbell or Claudia Schiffer make an unexpected appearance. This is why Shalom Harlow’s 2022 FROW stint got us nostalgic. Shalom was one of the top-earning supermodels in the mid-2000s. Showing up with a bright red lip, slick side waves and cheekbones sculpted to the gods, we cannot help but manifest ushering in a new age of the Supermodel!