A fashion designer who sells $300 sweatpants set out to conjure a “glowing universe of beauty” in one of the city’s most iconic buildings for a starry audience at his New York Fashion Week show on Wednesday.
Unfortunately, the office workers whose lobby he decided to conjure it in didn’t see the glowing beauty in it. In fact, we’re told they were furious about the situation. And some are even considering calling in the lawyers.
Veteran streetwear star Willy Chavarria — who moonlights as senior VP of design for Calvin Klein — hosted his eponymous line’s show in front of celebs and fashion VIPs including Julia Fox, Dascha Polanko, Evan Mock, Moses Sumney and Richie Shazam in the stunning marble lobby of the historic Woolworth Building in Downtown Manhattan.
But stylish sources say the move left office workers, and their employers, “apoplectic.”
“The [building is] clearly suffering from the post-pandemic commercial office downturn [and] leased the lobby to Willy Chavarria,” snarled a source, claiming the owners are “so eager to make money from this fashion show they turned off the elevators in ‘America’s first skyscraper’ from 4p.m. to 7p.m. — primetime for office workers to be leaving their desks.”
“People were stranded throughout the building, and the few folks who were able to get down were turned down by security in the lobby and sent back up,” the source added.
The source said that many tenants, on floors “as high up as 27,” had “no choice [but to] walk down dozens of flights of stairs.”
A rep for Chavarria told Page Six that the elevators were only out of service for the 15 minutes or so that the show was actually going on. We emailed the building’s management, but we didn’t hear back.
“Given the state of the office market, the idea that the owners would trap their tenants in their offices and make them unable to get home is deeply upsetting,” the insider said, “Some are considering litigation.”
In the days before the show, the building sent emails (seen by Page Six) to office tenants saying the elevator would be out of service from 4 p.m. to 7.30 p.m. on the day of the show but that the service elevator would be running. (A source scoffed at the idea that hundreds of workers could use the service elevator). Then, the following day, building managers said the elevator service wouldn’t be interrupted at all. Our sources insists they were, in fact, shut off for far more than 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, those who weren’t trying to make Metro-North to Westchester were delighted.
After the show, which was dubbed “New Life,” Harper’s Bazaar raved that Chavarria is “the beating heart of American fashion” — a claim with which those doing unwilling cardio workouts on the stairs may actually have agreed.
The designer told Vogue before the show, which used the lobby’s breathtaking neo-gothic stairway as its centerpiece, that the collection shows off a “new glowing universe of beauty.”