Hey, Quick Question: What Are All These Dogs, Babies and Robots Doing on the Runway?

This is taking the idea of model inclusivity to another level.
Author:
Publish date:
A look from Gauntlett Cheng's Fall 2018 runway show. Photo: Gauntlett Cheng

A look from Gauntlett Cheng's Fall 2018 runway show. Photo: Gauntlett Cheng

Welcome to our column, "Hey, Quick Question," where we investigate seemingly random happenings in the fashion and beauty industries. Enjoy!

It doesn't take many seasons of attending fashion week to turn a once-starry-eyed-newbie intern into a somewhat harder-to-impress (or even downright cynical) editor. The combination of breakneck pace, late nights and seemingly endless events and shows can turn even those who love fashion most into a tough crowd with a short attention span.

As a result, designers are always trying to outdo themselves and each other by finding new ways to surprise and delight their audiences. At New York Fashion Week this season, that's resulted in surprise celeb cameos, junk food on the runway and unexpected venues. But even more intriguing has been the number of brands sending "models" down the runway that did not even remotely resemble human adults.

It started out with designer Willy Chavarria during the menswear portion of the week: the Chicago-based designer sent an infant down the runway in the arms of his heavily tattooed model father.

A model and baby at Willy Chavarria's Fall 2018 runway show. Photo: Imaxtree

A model and baby at Willy Chavarria's Fall 2018 runway show. Photo: Imaxtree

A few days later, the move was echoed by Collina Strada designer Hillary Taymour, who sent a baby down the runway in the arms of a model who was posing as part of the "wedding party" in mock nuptials performed by fellow models and social media stars. In this case, the baby in question was outfitted with a diaper cover made of the same eye-catching orange fabric as the model carrying him.

Babies apparently make great models, part two — this time on Collina Strada's Fall 2018 runway. Photo: Collina Strada

Babies apparently make great models, part two — this time on Collina Strada's Fall 2018 runway. Photo: Collina Strada

The designers behind Gauntlett Cheng took a slightly different, but no less cute, tactic on Saturday. Their presentation featured no fewer than 10 canines who turned the catwalk into a dogwalk, trotting alongside or being carried by their human model counterparts. The former all wore the brand's debut pet line, which echoed the human line with some of the same fabrics and construction techniques. 

Pups were walked on leashes and carried in models' arms at Gauntlett Cheng's Fall 2018 show. Photo: Gauntlett Cheng

Pups were walked on leashes and carried in models' arms at Gauntlett Cheng's Fall 2018 show. Photo: Gauntlett Cheng

Not to be outdone, Philipp Plein took the least subtle approach of them all by sending a larger-than-life, light-up robot emblazoned with the brand's logo down the runway, which held model Irina Shayk's flesh-and-blood hand in its gargantuan mechanical one as they paraded through fake snow. 

Irina Shayk with her robot mans at Philipp Plein's Fall 2018 show. Photo: Imaxtree

Irina Shayk with her robot mans at Philipp Plein's Fall 2018 show. Photo: Imaxtree

So, are non-humans and not-yet-able-to-walk-by-themselves humans going to take over for regular ol' adult (or, okay, teenage) models? As for now, we're guessing the answer is no. But if these babies, robots and dogs were an attempt to lighten up the mood, get editors and influencers to smile in spite of themselves and, yes, garner more social media attention and press coverage, we'd have to say they succeeded — and as such, we wouldn't be surprised if that means we haven't seen the last of them. 

Stay current on the latest trends, news and people shaping the fashion industry. Sign up for our daily newsletter.