Buzz Aldrin walked on the moon in 1969—the second man to ever do so (after Neil Armstrong). Fast forward to present day. It’s the year 2017 and the iconic 87-year-old former astronaut came out of retirement to walk … in Nick Graham’s fall/winter 2017 menswear show.
To be more precise, he moonwalked—and did it to the deafening sound of cheers and applause and against a backdrop of real moving imagery of Mars inside N.Y.C.’s Skylight Clarkson studios. He modeled a futuristic, space-age-y ensemble: a shiny silver bomber jacket and sneakers, complete with a black tee featuring an emblem designed to mimic the NASA logo with the words of his initiative of his foundation—”Get Your Ass to Mars.”
And that brings us to how all of this started. “This collection is influenced by Apollo 11—all the silver, it’s what guys are going to look like on Mars in 30 years,” designer Nick Graham says prior to the show. “I just love space, and the last show I did was in Havana, so for this one, I was like, ‘How far can we go?’ and Mars is 35 million miles away depending on the day of the week.”
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To set the wheels in motion, he called upon good friend Bill Nye (you know, the science guy) to narrate the show and two weeks later, he e-mailed Aldrin about modeling in a show about Mars, and that was that. But, why Mars? “It’s the planet that can potentially sustain life. Elon Musk wants to get people to Mars, so does Buzz,” Graham goes on. “I think science is the most important things we need to understand in society, especially these days. Today, it’s a science class that happens to be a fashion show.”
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For a more in-depth explanation, we, of course, turned to Bill Nye (the Science Guy; sorry, can’t help it), who wore a snazzy rocket ship–printed blazer. “Well, what we want to do is explore Mars—that there was once something alive on Mars and if you accept that, then there are microbes, it will change the course of human history. We would still drive on the right, we wouldn’t change everything,” he jokes. “But it will be profound. It will change the way how everyone feels about his or her place in the cosmos, which is amazing.”
The show began with Bill Nye revealing his favorite planet (it’s Earth, btw) before pointing out significant landmarks on the Mars terrain. “And by the way, you and I are made of star dust. We are made of the stuff of exploded stars, and if that doesn’t fill you with reverence, I don’t know what does,” he says. “Here’s Mars’s Olympus Mons, the largest volcano in the solar system. There’s volcano Arsia Mons, Pavonis Mons, and Ascraeus Mons. And there’s Valles Marineris.”
As for the collection itself, it’s a lineup of sleek suits crafted from shiny fabrics; some are dotted with playful prints, others affixed with Aldrin’s “Get Your Ass to Mars” insignia.
And when asked if Aldrin ever thought he thought he’d find himself at the center of a fashion show, he replies, in all seriousness: “The world is a fashion show.”