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Whoopi Goldberg is killing it at fashion week

From sitting front row at Hood By Air to wearing Vetements – the TV host and actor is SS17’s unlikely star

Fashion and celebrity. The two worlds go hand in hand – and nowhere is this more evident than at fashion week. Actors, musicians, It-boys and girls are invariably seen doing the rounds at shows and parties in New York, London, Milan and Paris. However, it’s usually a certain type of star: the actor with an upcoming movie, the pop star with a hit album and the celebrity spawn who’s just come of age. Television host or (for the 90s kids among you) legendary lounge-singer-turned-nun Deloris Van Cartier a.k.a. Whoopi Goldberg does not fit into any of these categories – and yet she’s fast on the way to becoming this fashion week’s unlikely star.

First there was the Opening Ceremony show, where our protagonist made her SS17 fashion week – and modelling – debut. She took to the runway wearing in a black tiered ruffle dress and nice chunky shoe, along with a cast of models and other influential women including Alia Shawkat, Rashida Jones, Rowan Blanchard and Natasha Lyonne. Then, as the show turned into a political debate chaired by Portlandia’s Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein, she came out with surely the best line of SS17 so far – “You should vote because if you don’t, you can’t bitch.” On point. Naturally, her exhortation to vote in the upcoming US Presidential Election was met with rapturous applause.

Then came Whoopi’s appearance on the front row at Hood By Air’s show. Sure, a celebrity sitting on the front row of a fashion show is nbd. It happens a lot. Just this weekend, pop culture power couple Zayn Malik and Gigi Hadid took a pew at Versus Versace’s London Fashion Week outing. But this celebrity at this fashion show – this was a bit more unexpected. Because this wasn’t a show where ethereal models walked serenely down a catwalk in flowing gowns adorned with floral appliques and Swarovski crystals. This is a show where the beauty look was lube (the models’ faces and hair were covered in the stuff), the music was the sound of blow jobs and the collection itself was inspired by porn. One t-shirt was even emblazoned with the logo of PornHub, who sponsored the show. Provocative fashion? Whoopi, as it would appear, is a fan.

But maybe this was a fluke. Maybe Whoopi stumbled into this show, not knowing what it was. And maybe she was surprised by the lube, the explicit soundtrack and reference to pornography – a lot of celebrities would have been, understandably. But the evidence does not point that way: Goldberg was also seen at Gypsy Sport – another one of New York’s underground labels. In fact, throughout the nine-day slog that is New York Fashion Week, Goldberg made multiple appearances at fashion shows – both cult and commercial. She was at J.Crew (we all love a jean), Thom Browne, Tracy Reese and Marc Jacobs (possibly the most important NYFW show to be seen at), and photographed mingling with some rappers (2 Chainz and Juicy J) and iconic 60s model and diversity campaigner Bethann Hardison. So far, so fashion.

Now we’ve got nearly all the components that comprise a fashion star: a catwalk cameo, a front row appearance and a (albeit) loose affiliation with a cult-stoke-current brand. But there’s one key ingredient missing and it begins with ‘V’. Because in 2016, what kind of celebrity can even feign an interest in fashion without wearing Vetements? None. Rihanna’s done it, Kim’s done it, the rest of the Kardashian-Jenner clan (including Nori, obvs) have done it – even Celine Dion has done it. And now Whoopi has too. This morning she appeared on American talk show The View (on which she is a host, non-Americans) wearing the much-hyped Parisian brand’s “MAY THE BRIDGES I BURN LIGHT THE WAY” hoody from its AW16 collection. And she kind of made it work. 

The good news is that there’s still Milan and Paris Fashion Week to go, and so plenty of time for Whoopi to well and truly earn the crown “Queen of SS17”. If her performance thus far is anything to go by, the odds are in her favour.