Photo: Getty

Last night, Opening Ceremony brought a breath of fresh air to New York Fashion Week by staging a “Pageant of the People” that was equal parts funny and political in lieu of a traditional runway.

Instead of sticking to strictly models, the brand tapped prominent female actresses and comedians to star in a “pageant” in which each contestant stepped forward to discuss a political issue of their choice with the evening’s comedic hosts, Carrie Brownstein and Fred Armisen. The theme was the 2016 presidential election and the models pageant contestants included political-minded women like Rashida Jones, Whoopi Goldberg, Natasha Lyonne, Rosario Dawson, Aidy Bryant, Sarah McBride, Ali Wong, Jessica Williams and 14-year-old Rowan Blanchard.

 So what did all of this have to do with, you know, fashion? Opening Ceremony designers designers Humberto Leon and Carol Lim explained the correlation in the show notes:

The designers promised to discuss issues like gender inequality, immigration, police brutality and economic inequality. Each contestant was able to bring their issue of choice to light on-stage, while wearing Opening Ceremony’s Fall 2016—and what better way to market a fashion line than showing it off with brains?

Whoopi Goldberg urged people to vote with the line of the night, “Vote. Because if don’t vote you can’t bitch,” after walking the ‘runway’ in a black ruffled off-the-shoulder look.

Photo: Getty

Comedian Ali Wong discussed a question women are asked all too often, “how do you balance family and career?” and gave a kick-ass answer:

Another highlight in the show was Sarah McBride, transgender activist and Human Rights Campaign national press secretary, who answered the question, “what does it mean to be American?”

McBride referenced the importance of ‘We The People’ and said, “We must never be a country that says there’s only one way to love, only one way to look, and only one way to live. We must be a country where everyone has the freedom to live openly and equally. A country that says that you can be gay, you can be trans, you can be a woman, you can be black, you can be Muslim, you can be anything, but this society says it’s mutually exclusive.”

Rowan Blanchard, who at just 14 years old is already an inspiring voice for women, took to the stage to discuss feminism and call out mansplaining before urging guests to vote in November.

The seriousness of the political issues being discussed was balanced out by hosts Brownstein and Armisen’s hilarious commentary (and if this presidential election needs anything, it’s a healthy dose of comedic relief) along with a lineup of models sporting Opening Ceremony’s newest collection.

The fall 2016 collection was available to pre-order immediately, making the brand the latest to join the see-now, buy-now movement. Upon exiting the show, guests were able to register to vote—who says fashion can’t be political?

From: Harper’s BAZAAR US