The line wrapped around the block at Cipriani 42nd Street in Manhattan. Housewife Bethenny Frankel was there, as were big-time media figures Marie Claire editor-in-chief Joanna Coles and Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour, and everyone else in between. They were gathered at the launch of an evening gala honouring Virgil Abloh.
The Independent fashion journalist Jayme Poquette put it succinctly: “Just another A-list event for a self-aggrandising hipster.”
Ivanka Trump pictured with Virgil Abloh backstage at the launch of the new Off-White by Kanye West menswear collection at Cipriani 42nd Street. Photograph: Dominick Reuter/AFP/Getty Images
No doubt Abloh, a South African-born designer whose label, Off-White, is a creative fit with West’s, will feel that his call to event attendees to call each other “son” worked.
As Abloh made his way through the reception area of Cipriani in the Ginza section of downtown Manhattan, the reception was flooded with clamorous, camera-gazing children. Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, who are far from ordinary.
As the famous denizens of Madison Avenue looked around, posing for selfies, talking to the fashion editor-in-chief of GQ, Esche Wiggin, and then being escorted to the dinner’s table, Aiden Gauger, a two-year-old wearing Off-White, was the one being positioned for the most elaborate photo op.
“This is what off-white means to me,” a father from the other end of the line said, before offering the little boy: “Go out and play on your tablet. That’s how we do things.”
Off-White show by Virgil Abloh at Louis Vuitton fashion show in Paris. Photograph: KeystoneUSA-ZUMA / Rex Features
Ivanka and Jared, meanwhile, took up prime seats on the dance floor and were swarmed by guests. Earlier in the day, Ivanka confirmed to reporters on her White House tour that she would continue to be on the body of the president.
“When the president says, ‘I’m the best dad ever’, I believe him. That’s not a reflection of my abilities. That’s just the way he is,” she said.
The beef with Ivanka? I don’t know … she remains a family and a party planner just about as thoroughly in the pocket of her husband as any image of her was that evening.
Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump on their way to the Virgil Abloh evening gala. Photograph: Dominick Reuter/AFP/Getty Images
After a brunch of aubergine-encrusted egg purée, guests took their seats at the dinner. The live music of Hercules and Love Affair blared through the intimate dining room.
Then, West emerged, although only in video form, and rolled up, with his girlfriend, Kim Kardashian. A Kardashian appearance (in a strapless red ball gown) was sure to upset the fashion crowd.
There was later a speech by Wintour, who used the opportunity to hype up West’s signature look and described the clothes as “over-the-top”.
Celebrity guests take a selfie with Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner at the Virgil Abloh night gala. Photograph: Miles Dixon/Rex/Shutterstock
The night ended with West performing a brief set of Yeezy songs.
Protestors, meanwhile, were scattered around 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue, expressing their view that the fashion industry is overrun by racial inequality. “Anger with social media can be crippling,” the messages read, referencing the recent wave of political activism.