With New York Fashion Week comes a whirlwind of personalities, attitude, and models. Whether you’re sitting front row or following along on Instagram, the showcase of fashion can sometimes create a singular view of women’s bodies. This year, the SS20 runway shows in Manhattan definitely made an effort to feature a wider range of faces, bodies, and people in general. Fashion designer Sherri Hill has been making formal evening wear since 2008 and her designs have been worn by the likes of Selena Gomez, Bella Thorne, and Carrie Underwood. Hill says that while she specializes in evening wear, she aims to make evening wear for every girl.
“We always have a diverse runway as far as the nationalities and bodies go, but we also have a diverse line. We cater to the girl who wants a skimpier mini dress all the way to the girl who wants a completely modest dress.” Hill is credited for booking Kendall Jenner in her first ever NYFW runway show back in 2011 and the designer says that models have changed since then. “In the past, you had to be a certain look, size, or body. Now the girls are all over the board and can be themselves. There’s a bit more variety now and it’s fun to see,” she explains. “We have one girl who is 5’5” and she said she never thought she’d be able to walk the runway. We have girls from 5’5” to 5’11” and everything in between.”
The diversity on Hill’s runway expands far beyond the models, who this season included Halima Aden, the first woman to wear a hijab in the Miss USA pageant. Grammy Award-nominated singer-songwriter Bebe Rexha, who has been exceptionally vocal about her struggle with body image and how she hopes designers would be more inclusive, was brought on to open and close Hill’s show. “I remember growing up and going to get a prom dress and seeing Sherri Hill designs so I’m excited to perform,” Rexha says backstage, donning a formfitting black cocktail dress.
For SS20, Hill’s collection initially boasted a range of beautiful pastel shades until singer Bebe Rexha was brought on board. “We added a few more pieces with an edgier feel [when Bebe was brought on]. We start the show with animal print, red and black, and then we go into the pastels,” Hill says.
Rexha released her latest single “Not 20 Anymore” on her 30th birthday in August, which also coincided with her performance at Madison Square Garden while on tour with the Jonas Brothers. “I cried the whole time,” the singer playfully gushes about the evening. The song is an ode to overcoming insecurities and becoming more confident in your own skin. Rexha admits that in her twenties she went through many iterations of herself. “I loved the rock and roll style and was inspired by Debbi Harry but I also loved glamour,” she says of her personal style in her twenties. “I kind of got confused for a second and went into this sporty world but now I’m getting back to my true self which is dark colors, a little edgy, but glamorous.”
Before hitting the runway during NYFW, the 30-year-old singer shared some choice words for her 20-year-old self: “Calm the fuck down. I was always so on edge and I really wanted to make it in the music business. Now I see that a lot of things that didn’t work out led to something so much better. I wish I would have told myself to relax.”
Rexha perfectly personified edgy glamour on the runway. The singer strutted down the catwalk and belted out her hit “Meant to Be” as model Halima Aden closed the show.