Last night, Zac Posen held his Fall 2015 womenswear fashion show in Vanderbilt Hall of Grand Central Station. Rihanna and Mary J. Blige looked on as Naomi Campbell walked the runway; the front row and the catwalk of Posen's show were packed with powerhouse women of all ages, sizes, and races.
Katie Holmes, Christina Hendricks, Uzo Aduba, Lisa Rodin, Ke$ha and Abigal Breslin were among the spectators as Sudanese supermodel Alek Wek stomped the runway, as did Anna Cleveland — the offspring of legendary '70s black runway model Pat Cleveland — as well as 8 other black models — and other models of color. Year after year, the fashion runways are mostly white, and models of color don't get as much work — so this is a big deal.
Telling Style.com, "I wanted to find a balance between the elegance of Grace Kelly and the fierceness of Chaka Khan" Posen looked to Naomi Campbell for reference. Closing the show in a glittering burgundy gown reminiscent of a Pre-Raphaelite fairy disco godmother, the supermodel did what she does best — steal the show — and sashayed down the runway with Posen on her arm for a fashion storybook ending.
Within an industry that is either evading or attempting to repair a glaring racial divide that has historically kept runways, magazine mastheads, and campaigns predominantly white, Zac Posen's Fall 2015 womenswear presentation was a refreshing scene. True, we have seen designers make huge splashes with diversity before (Rick Owens' Spring 2014 womenswear step team presentation comes to mind), but this has often been an one-off spectacle. A consistent and unilateral move to diversify the casting — and front row — has yet to become par for the course, but when it can be done so effortlessly and beautifully — as Posen proves — it makes you wonder why everyone is just so late?
Marjon Carlos is a style and culture writer for Fusion who boasts a strong turtleneck game and opinions on the subjects of fashion, gender, race, pop culture, and men's footwear.