Why Beyoncé Popped Up in Bushwick for Luar’s NYFW Show

This is an edition of the newsletter Show Notes, in which Samuel Hine reports from the front row of the global fashion week circuit. Sign up here to get it in your inbox.

Celebrity cameos are a dime a dozen at fashion shows these days. There’s no better marketing device than a front row stocked with VIPs, and the famous are increasingly eager to participate. But on Tuesday night in Bushwick, Luar designer Raul Lopez landed what will surely be the most significant A-list moment of the entire season when Beyoncé—fresh off her surprise Super Bowl Sunday album announcement—showed up.

When he found out the newly-minted country star had RSVP’d yes, “I literally gagged,” said an emotional Lopez backstage after the finale. Lopez only got word that she was coming an hour before showtime. “I just found out,” he said. “When I walked in here today, I didn’t know.”

I asked Lopez how he had pulled it off. He was clearly still processing. “I have no idea,” the New York native said.

Beyoncé’s most recent front row appearance was at her friend Pharrell’s Louis Vuitton debut last June. She doesn’t really go to fashion shows, and at Luar, I could see why. I had hardly taken my seat in the dark space when a fellow fashion writer told me they had just seen a glamorous woman with straight blonde hair and a cowboy hat (emblems of Bey’s new album cycle) step out of an Escalade. Beyoncé? In Bushwick? I began asking around. “Absolutely no way,” said the writer and gallerist Antwaun Sargent. After all, it wouldn’t be fashion week without a Beyoncé rumor. I’ve lost track of how many times the pop super-icon has been linked to this or that fashion house, only to fail to appear.

But could she show up to this industrial warehouse on a dead-end Bushwick street? It soon became clear that a few seats were being held at one end of the small runway for someone important. By the time Solange took her spot next to Christopher John Rodgers, the crowd was in the throes of a sort of collective meltdown. Have you ever seen well-coiffed fashion editors run like they’re being chased? Then you’ve never seen Beyoncé swan into a runway show. She arrived at around 9:40 and was politely swarmed by photographers and phones. In a sign that her appearance was truly last minute (or, perhaps, actually meticulously planned), she wore a crystal-embroidered blazer by Indian couturier Gaurav Gupta rather than Luar, though she carried a silver version of the brand’s ubiquitous Ana bag.

Julez Smith

Getty Images / Albert Urso

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