Pete Davidson Aces Runway Debut for Alexander Wang

Pete Davidson Alexander Wang Collection - Getty - H 2019
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The designer looked to icons Donna Karan, Calvin Klein and Ralph Lauren for his tribute to American fashion in Rockefeller Center.

Working girls (and boys) in ankle-grazing greatcoats, Lady Liberty in a catsuit, a band of modern-day suffragettes — and, hey, a tattooed Pete Davidson — all took to Alexander Wang’s runway on Friday night smack dab in the middle of Manhattan, outdoors at Rockefeller Center.

With the LED platform catwalk lit up for the finale in red and white stripes and the corner field of blue bearing a lower-case "a” instead of stars, this was Wang’s ebullient ode to New York fashion. Invited guests were seated in the shadow of the gold statue of Prometheus on the lower level (where skaters glide in winter) while tourists and fans crowded the plaza above, which was ringed with American flags.

Regarding the drafting of Saturday Night Live castmember Davidson for the show (which took place just steps from the NBC headquarters that SNL calls home), Wang told The Hollywood Reporter, "Anyone who knows me, knows I love comedy, so I asked him, ‘Do you want to walk?' He responded immediately, 'Yeah, sure.' I thought he might chicken out, but he's such a sport. And he killed it on the runway."

And there was killer fashion, too, as Wang paid tribute to the iconic troika of 20th century American designers who influenced him in his early days — Donna, Calvin and Ralph (as in Karan, Klein and Lauren, respectively).

“These are designers that I grew up with and meant so much to me,” Wang reflected. “And this moment brought it closer and I wanted to give back to New York City and give back to my fans.”

As the show unfolded in sections, Wang first looked to Karan’s era, with a wry take on her strong-shouldered lush overcoats with an '80s vibe, her “cold-shoulder” body wear and signature coal-black leathers.

Then came a Klein moment, with washed denim in a sharply new mini/maxi skirt, signature T-shirts that mimed the “cK” logo as “aW” and even a model in a leather jacket and underwear boxer briefs that recalled the ‘90s Marky Mark days.

All the Lauren tropisms followed — a flag-motif sweater with fringed busking, country plaids over a denim coverall and black velvet for evening — all recut and rejiggered in Wang’s style.

A closing parade of women in all-white versions of his characteristic shapes represented Wang’s view of the modern woman while linking her to her suffragette sisters of the past: “So whether it's the T-shirt, the jeans, the boxer, the men’s dress shirt or the slip dress — I want every girl to feel like herself.”

When it was suggested to the designer that he was literally planting a flag for the next generation of American designers with his backlit version of Old Glory as his runway, Wang smiled and spread his arms wide in a hopeful gesture. “I think it's important to really pay homage and recognize how much of an impact American brands and American designers have had on the entire world," he said.