Forces of Fashion Cocktail Party – Vogue – Vogue.com
After a whirlwind day of fashion talk (both colloquial and cerebral), Vogue’s first ever conference Forces of Fashion ended with clinks of champagne flutes. Seven hours prior, however, it was Vogue Editor-in-Chief and Condé Nast Artistic Director Anna Wintour who delivered a toast of her own. “Forces of Fashion is a testament, I think, to our capacity for change,” she announced in her morning address. “This is our 125th anniversary year, which marks a long time for any magazine to stay relevant and interesting.”
In the spirit of embracing the now, the audience included both guests who took their seats at 15th Street’s Milk Studios and conference-goers who streamed the experience via Facebook live. Those IRL attendees received little red pamphlets which contained the day’s program-–a fashionable assortment with back-to-back conversations from the likes of (in chronological order) Stella McCartney, Dries Van Noten, Marc Jacobs, Kevin Systrom, Michael Kors, Francesco Risso, Natacha Ramsay-Lévi, Joseph Altuzarra, Erdem Moralioglu, Simon Porte Jacquemus, Victoria Beckham, John Galliano, Virgil Abloh, Heron Preston, Demna Gvasalia, and to top it off, Rihanna.
Throughout the day, conversations ranged from social media, inheriting a fashion house, disruption, unpacking the concept of “cool” and (straight from the bad gal herself) the nature of being Rihanna. The ears’ of design students perked when John Galliano doled out technical tricks of the trade (hold a mirror to your croquis to see them in a new way) and nostalgic millennials delighted when Victoria Beckham spoke of her experience revisiting photos from her Posh days. “That was a hell of a PVC catsuit,” she quipped. Off-white’s Virgil Abloh pressed the importance of individuality, “Be yourself but be so specific so people can find you.” There was something for everyone.
Coming off of Rihanna, who proffered business tips like “If I can do your job better than you, then it’s a waste of my time to hire you,” everyone was inspired to be their bad self as they made their way down to the ground floor of Milk Studios for a cocktail hour. If there was a lack of things to look at (with the caliber of this crowd, there certainly wasn’t) guests could peruse a collection of landmark photography from the Vogue archives which lined the walls. Panel members and their onstage moderators—Vogue magazine’s best and brightest (Hamish Bowles, Chioma Nnadi, Sarah Mower, André Leon Talley, Sally Singer, Nicole Phelps, Virginia Smith, Luke Leitch, Mark Holgate, and Selby Drummond)—gathered, inspired by the day’s dialogue which continued on throughout the evening.
As the day wound down, one of John Galliano’s remarks from the afternoon seemed to reverberate: “glamour doesn’t exist without an audience.” At the time, he was speaking of fashion as a shared experience but with an audience like today’s, glamour seemed to be everywhere.