year in review

The Year in Fashionable Gate-crashers

Photo-Illustration: by The Cut; Photos: Getty Images

It seemed to all culminate at New York Fashion Week — the Coach show, to be exact — when PETA crashed Stuart Vevers’s tenth-anniversary show at the New York Public Library. Right as the show started, two show crashers, one in a bodysuit covered in blood, paraded among the otherwise mostly leather collection. And it didn’t end there; the animal-rights group carefully infiltrated one major fashion show in every city: Burberry in London, Gucci in Milan, and Hermès in Paris.

Unlike the grand Sex and the City moment of 2008, when Samantha’s fur coat was made bloody by activists parked outside the fashion show, protesters were more crafty this time around. They snuck between a sea of models to strut down the catwalk and show off their signboards with pointed slogans like “Coach: Leather Kills” and “Hermès: Drop Exotic Skins.”

Photo: Victor VIRGILE/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

For the curious and valiant, the animal-rights intruders had a pro tip on how to make it past security: Just carry a discarded coffee cup, as it allegedly adds an air of importance and belonging in the haughty high-fashion scene. On TikTok too, countless videos equip you with hacks and loopholes to break into a fashion show — at your own risk.

But breaking into shows wasn’t only reserved for people in 2023. Yes, we’re talking about bedbugs. During Paris Fashion Week, there were videos of people seeing bedbugs crawling on Metro seats and people posting about their bites, with some even changing hotel rooms. “No one is safe,” said Paris deputy mayor Emmanuel Grégoire. And to make matters worse, these party crashers followed some fashion folk home, prompting them to take measures like fumigating their homes, deep-freezing (very expensive) clothes, and storing their luggage in plastic bags.

Still, the Met Gala cockroach was the most glamorous, and our favorite, crasher. Back in May, when celebrities arrived at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art to celebrate Karl Lagerfeld, they had no idea that their outfits were competing for virality with a cockroach. Photographers spotted the jubilant runner on the carpet while they were waiting for Rihanna.


The final guest to walk the red carpet at the Met Gala, this cockroach, but he refused to tell us who he was wearing #metgala #tiktokfashion #nyc

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“The cockroach’s virality was the ultimate symbol of revolt,” said Coco Mocoe, a trend analyst and content creator. She was instantly a meme: Raid joked about missing its Met invite, and others dressed her in Louis Vuitton. Fashion and pop-culture followers were only too happy to fan the fire and watch the chaos ensue.

“What are you wearing?” shouted the crowd to the Met Gala cockroach, only to see a security guard squash her once she arrived at the event. RIP, Met Gala cockroach, you gave us some joy.

The Year in Fashionable Gate-crashers