Cynthia Rowley Fall 2023

Now that we are out of the COVID-19 pandemic, well at least metaphorically, fashion brands are trying to figure out how to regain their consumer base and even expand their consumer demographic. And one way that some brands are looking to appeal to consumers is to use the average consumer in their runway shows and campaigns. This inclusive concept works sometimes and sometimes it is disastrous.

For her fall 2023 collection, Cynthia Rowley employed this inclusive concept. And it worked, well somewhat.

That said, Rowley inclusive idea was drastically different from what some other fashion designers were doing. Instead of a runway show or presentation, Rowley did the unthinkable. She produced a comedy presentation at the Sony Theater with several comedians wearing her fall 2023 collection.

“I start each day with ten minutes of stand up,” says Cynthia Rowley. “I’ve long said I wish fashion were funnier. Not necessarily the clothes, but the attitude. After hosting a stand-up comedy night at my store in Montauk this summer with my friend and collaborator Seth Herzog (“The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon,” “Broad City,” “30 Rock,” “Chappelle Show”), it became clear to me that it was time to realize my long-standing dream to host so many of my favorite funny ladies on one stage.”

Wagging fashion tongues were hinting that Rowley was going this route, but no one believed she could pull it off. Well, she did.

Images courtesy of Cynthia Rowley

The comedy show featured some of the biggest names in comedy, the all-star all-female cast included comedians Nikki Glaser (“Welcome Home Nikki Glaser?” on E!), Rachel Feinstein (“Last Comic Standing,” HBO’s “Crashing”), Arden Myrin (Netflix’s “Insatiable,” iHeartRadio’s “Will You Accept This Rose” podcast), Rosebud Baker (Emmy-award winning writer, one of Variety’s “Top Ten Comics to Watch,” writer for Saturday Night Live), Claudia Oshry (“Disgraced Queen” on Amazon Prime, co-host of “The Toast” podcast), Ego Nwodim (“Saturday Night Liv”e cast member since 2018), and Michelle Buteau (Netflix’s ‘The Circle,” “Welcome to Beautopia”)with host Esther Ku (MTV’s “Girl Code,” “Wild ‘N Out,” and “Last Comic Standing”) hilariously tying all of the performances together into one hour of non-stop laughs. Though the comedy show was an overwhelming success, the verdict is still off it this was a good way to showcase her fall 2023 collection.

Though the garments that were able to experience included some trending elements—statement sleeves, sheer fabrics, and stitched-on embellishments—it was a disjointed way to experience a fashion collection. Still, kudos for Rowley’s bravery!!

—William S. Gooch

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