Whoopi Goldberg Shuts Down Opening Ceremony & Everything Else to Know About the Politically Charged Show

Whoopi Goldberg - NYFW Opening Ceremony Spring Summer 2017 - September 11, 2016
Photo: JP Yim/Getty

The second Opening Ceremony’s NYFW invitation arrived, it was clear we were in for something big. Mysteriously entitled “Pageant of the People,” the show not only promised hilarious Portlandia stars, Carrie Brownstein and Fred Armisen, as hosts but a whole slew of guest appearances from some of the coolest ladies in show business. So did the night live up to our expectations? You bet it did—keep reading for a blow-by-blow breakdown of the evening.

1. The show was staged at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, which is, admittedly, not the sexiest venue (since it's used to host conferences and trade shows), but it was fitting, considering that this was something of a political event. But, of course, the emcees turned the center's inconvenient location into comedic gold. "Let's take a vote right now by raising your hands: How many people think that this venue was too far west?" Armisen asks. When no one raised their hand, Brownstein followed up with: "This is practice for November—if you're afraid of voting how far west this is, then I worry about you voting in November."

Carrie Brownstein and Fred Armisen - Opening Ceremony NYFW Spring Summer 2017
JP Yim/Getty

2. As you might have deduced, the show's call to action was to encourage showgoers to vote. "Since our very first show, Opening Ceremony has participated in fashion week as a platform to express ideas," the first paragraph of the show notes read. "This year, no ideas are as critical as the ones our country will consider on election day. Our fall II and winter 2016 show is a tribute to the American democratic process and the diversity of those who participate in it."

3. When guests arrived, they were ushered through a gauntlet of male models wearing custom-embroidered O.C. varsity jackets, representing the first countries that immigrated to the U.S., while holding its corresponding international flag. It was later confirmed that this was a nod to the Olympics—an event that has deeply inspired the brand since its humble beginnings as a tiny shop in lower Manhattan—and embracing diversity in America.

4. The bulk of the collection was shown on runway models, who were outfitted in classic O.C. pieces, like sporty striped rib-knit dresses, embroidered varsity jackets, ruffled little numbers, and cool zip-front minis—all of which, for the first time ever, you can pre-order now and receive in a matter of weeks from openingceremony.com. It was also later revealed that the two giant puffers from the line-up were done in collaboration with Canada Goose, available for purchase in November.

5. As the models did their thing, Brownstein and Armisen couldn't help themselves, poking fun and facetiously heckling them as they made their rounds. "One of the models tonight, we're not going to tell you who, is a robot," Armisen says. Another gem: "This is my mechanic and she does a great job and I asked her to do this. The carburetor sounds great," Armisen says. "You were great in Stranger Things," Brownstein says to a model with a buzzcut.

6. The 11 guest stars (including actresses-slash-comediennes Ali Wong, Rashida Jones, Aubrey Plaza, Diane Guerrero, Natasha Lyonne, Rowan Blanchard, and Whoopi Goldberg—all clad in O.C.) made their appearance after every three or four models walked, to which the show stopped and they were asked to answer a question from Brownstein and Armisen, pageant-style. Some were serious, others funny. A few examples:

How do you balance family and career? Ali Wong's reply: "I have a nanny—and then I work my ass off to pay for the nanny. She costs $3,000, and my husband and I, we have to work very hard to not have to take care of our child ourselves."

Why should we care about refugees when we have enough problems right here in America? Rashida Jones's reply: "Currently we are facing the largest global refugee crisis in history and luckily, most of us here have never had to flee from our homes because of war and violence. There are 13.5 million Syrian refugees who can’t go home. It seems far away, but the reality is, a lot of us here are descendants of immigrants, refugees, and slaves, and look where we are—we’re so lucky, we’re so privileged, so it’s our generational imperative and American responsibility to care."

What brings you here, to this part of New York, so far west—a place that no one goes to on 11th and 12th Avenues? Whoopi Goldberg's reply: "Only in America can a girl like me find myself walking on a stage like this, dressed in Opening Ceremony, baby. And 12th Avenue has got a much better reputation than it used to—it used to be known as the "Ho Avenue." Things have gotten better."

7. The front row crowd included a mix of Hollywood insiders, comedians, and musicians, such as Andrew Garfield, Aziz Ansari, Tinashe, Jamie Chung, and will.i.am.

NYFW Opening Ceremony - Andrew Garfield and Aziz Ansari - September 11, 2016
Jamie McCarthy/Getty

8. The show ended with two rapid quick-fire questions for the 11 guest stars. They first had to fill in the black for "You woke up in the morning feeling?" (answers ranged from "Hangry" to "Thankful"), and then they were asked to answer: "Why should we vote in November?" Whoopi's answer earned the loudest applause: "Because if you don't vote, then you can't bitch." Boom. Mic drop.

9. Finally, designers Carol Lim and Humberto Leon took the stage to tell showgoers to vote—voting officials were on standby to help everyone register before the upcoming election.

Opening Ceremony NYFW Spring Summer 2017 - Carol Lim and Humberto Leon - September 11, 2016
JP Yim/Getty
Updated by Andrea Cheng
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