Rooting for the bad guys and girls might be one of entertainment’s original guilty pleasures. We all love to hate Iago, Norman Bates, and Annie Wilkes. But the most animated villains of all, of course, belong to Disney films.
Phillipe and David Blond know a thing or two about walking on the wild side. They also know glamour, having curated a clientele made of up celebrities whose tabloid lives are just as dramatic and statement-making as The Blonds’ designs.
Paris Hilton, Gwen Stefani, and Mariah Carey have all worn their creations. Earlier this year, Nicki Minaj wore a hoop dress, complete with Victorian-era wig, on the cover of her single, “Barbie Tingz.”
Last Spring, the team’s NYFW show attempted to answer the question “What is light without dark?” For Fall, the line took things one step further, pairing with Disney after the conglomerate pitched a collaboration celebrating its villains.
As David Blond told WWD, “Often misunderstood, Disney Villains are flawed, imposing and mysterious, and we loved the idea of taking these characteristics and translating them in a glamorous way, making them the heroes of our story.”
The show was held at 9pm on a Friday night, and attendees showed up in their party best. But of course, this wasn’t any stuffy cocktail hour. Sequins, fringe, and feathers were so plentiful that street photographers had plenty of worthy subjects to pluck from the long line waiting outside Gallery 1 at Spring Studios.
The show began with a trippy, psychedelic cartoon that played like the Snow White on a bad trip. Set to the tune of Lana del Ray slurring “Once Upon a Dream,” the ominous setup was not indicative of what was to come.
Unlike other, staid shows, models didn’t just walk lifelessly, trying to blend into their outfits. Instead they oozed spectacle, posing, strutting, and voguing. The night became as much of an homage to Maleficient and the Evil Queen as it was to campy drag culture.
It seemed as though none of the models had missed leg day; when they weren’t pairing fishnets with high-cut leotards, they were in skintight catsuits.
Then came several special guest models. Patrick Starrr, the YouTube beauty guru who frequently teams up with MAC (a makeup line that helped sponsor the show), channeled The Little Mermaid’s Urusla. Starrr’s faux webbed hands, large black fascinator, and feather train moved well with his hip pops, swivels, and spins.
After Starrr came Paris Hilton, who played a believable Cruella de Ville, straight down to her black-and-white thigh-high boots, salt-and-pepper hair, and accessory dog. Her fiery red lipstick? That was, as Hilton would put it, hot.
Desmond Napoles, the 11-year-old drag kid who was catapulted into Insta-fame in 2015 when a video of his New York’s Pride March dancing went viral, also made an appearance as Maleficient’s raven Diablo, complete with ample black smokey eye, fringed manicure, and wings that were almost as tall as the preteen.
But the night’s hands-down winner was Leiomy Maldonado, the transgender activist and choreographer who recently appeared in the FX series Pose. After reaching the end of the runway, Meldonado fell to the floor and began voguing.
Meldonado's electrifying performance wasn't a finale — the last walk was saved for Phillipe Blond with crimped hair and a shoulder-padded one-piece — but it was clearly the fan-favorite.
To paraphrase another NYFW designer (Rihanna), these fashionable villains may have been bad, but they were perfectly good at it.