Angel Haze, Chelsea Leyland, and A$AP Illz walk the DKNY Fall 2014 New York Fashion Week runway.
Photo: Getty Images
In celebration of her 25th anniversary DKNY show, Donna Karan sent a diverse lineup of models down her New York Fashion Week runway. Rather than pulling strictly from modeling agencies, Karan cast a wide net across New York City, enlisting a band of New Yorkers to premiere her Fall 2014 collection. The DKNY roster included NY-based fashion veterans like Angel Haze, who moved to Brooklyn when she was just 16 and was the face of Mark McNairy's lookbook last year; Chelsea Leyland, a Big Apple transplant from across the pond with experience fronting Cole Haan's Fall 2012 campaign; and A$AP Mob's very own A$AP Illz, repping for Harlem (you might remember him from 2013's Pyrex Vision debut).
Many outlets and individuals were elated that this DKNY show featured "real people" among the models. This is a little problematic, because I'm pretty sure models are real people (unless they've been holograms or sentient robots this whole time and I just haven't paid enough attention), even if the physique typical of high-fashion runway models doesn't reflect the majority of current living humans. But also, since all of these people walked this runway to showcase clothes, that qualifies them as models, at least for this purpose—an idea supported by snaps of the program which seemed to ignore the model title altogether, listing even career models on the roster like Devan Mayfield Nykole and Masha Korchagina by different distinctions: "artist (painter)/health practitioner" and "actress/biologist," respectively.
Hannah Bronfman, Daniel Bamdad, and Juliana Huxtable Ladosha walk the DKNY Fall 2014 New York Fashion Week runway.
Photo: Getty Images
What I found inspirational about this DKNY presentation was not its mix of sizes and shapes (since the models were generally quite slender and mostly tall) but the way it illustrated the melting pot of New York City with a seamlessly integrated salad of genders, ethnicities, sexual orientations, personal styles (the models even picked their own beauty looks), walks of life, and varying familiarities with the city—from born-and-bred New Yorkers like Hannah Bronfman, a multihyphenate actress/DJ/entrepreneur (she's a co-founder of the Beautified app), to sometime New Yorkers, like the impressively inked up Daniel Bamdad, a model/dancer/choreographer/TV presenter (?) who makes his home in New York as well as Paris by way of Germany. And thanks to House of Ladosha's Juliana Huxtable, there was at least one DJ/writer/cyborg! It was a kind of a real life Humans of New York exposition, and that's really rad.