South Beach McDonald's Staged a Weird, Wonderful Fashion Show at Its Reopening

What moves faster: Food or fashion? The answer, apparently, is both, or so we learned Saturday at the grand reopening of the McDonald's at Lincoln Road and Washington Avenue. Yes, the fast food chain staged a reopening event, and yes, there was a fashion show. No, really.

Though members of the fashion community normally would rather drop dead than to be caught sneaking a single, grease-dipped fry, it seems a newfound appreciation for the emblematic fast-food chain has elevated its otherwise overlooked golden arches.

In fact, more than just elevated. The 74-year-old company delighting in all things calories, has recently been recognized for being, well, stylishly trendy.

A bit of style background: This past February, designer Jeremy Scott, creative director of Moschino, who certainly doesn't shy away from the concept of fun-fashion, shocked, yet dazzled buyers, editors, and the like with the debut of Moschino's Fall 2014 collection. "Making examples" of Budweiser, SpongeBob, and the not-so-lady likes of Chanel was definitely implied. It was the show's start, however, that got the attention of not just the critics in the late Franco Moschino's house that day, but a global audience -- or rather following -- as well. Mink furs, neo-preens, and chained handle bags sporting the colors red and yellow told a blatant story of commercialism inspired by the Big M. Hell, he even managed to pop out an iPhone case in the shape of rubber fries.

As much as we wanted to believe that Scott was paying homage to the institution partly responsible for the term "fast-food nation," we knew that the "M" being paraded down the first quarter of his runway show stood for Moschino, not McDonald's. For according to the house of Moschino, and Jeremy Scott for that matter, there can only be one main "M" screened on the dainty backs of leggy models.

We beg to differ, Mr. Scott. Because this past Saturday, the team of the newly renovated McDonald's, perched between 16th Avenue and Lincoln Road in Miami Beach, challenged the cartoon-obsessed designer's salient and monocratic claim at the launch party of its grand opening.

The students of Ai Miami International University of Art and Design capped off the event by putting on a fashion show amid the families of McGrubbers, contently scarfing down on some Quarter Pounders and Chicken McNuggets.

If the thought of a fashion show set to take place behind the same confines where frying pans soak in a tub of grease comes across to you as weird; you're right -- it was. Weird it may have been, but the show's concept and cause, outweighed its outlandish imagery. Unlike your stereotypical runway shows, 15 percent of all proceeds made during Saturday's event benefitted Ronald McDonald House Charities. Did Jeremy Scott do that after his show? Didn't think so.

On top of all the good-giving deeds that the unconventional fashion show brought forth, it also proposed a challenge. Each student participating in the show put his creativity to the test, using only McDonald's packaging and paper products to turn out the look of their choice.

Announcing the show was white-faced, red nosed Ronald McDonald himself. Though fairly entertaining with his one-liners and casual witticism, he still struck terror in the hearts of many (because no matter how jolly you look whilst waving a Happy Meal in our faces, you're still fucking scary, dude). There, to join in on the feted food-meets-fashion hootenanny, was the unexpected presence of the Miami Heat mascot, Burnie. Though his being there was slightly irrelevant, it was deeply welcomed, dimming down the whole clown-traumatization of 'ole Ronnie.

The show had a tough panel of five local blogger babes, including Annie Vasquez from The Fashion Poet and Daniela Ramirez of Nany's Klozet, all hungry to knight the winner of the contentious battle.

As soon as we saw our first pair of fry-box culottes, we knew the line between crazy and brilliance was about to be crossed.

Everything from to-go bag skirt sets, to french-fry box bustier tops and skirts (some of which sported actual fries), paraded past the tables where on-looking families sat. One student even managed to turn a clump of Happy Meal boxes into a fully functional (but, by no means practical) tote. That same student upped his already avant-garde outfit with a golden arch headpiece, resembling butterflies teeming the model's head. Something so strange and abstract, it deserved a seal of approval by Gaultier himself.

But it was the winning look by tag-team duo, Maria Aquaroni and Chantel Rodriguez, culling all the judges' votes upon that fateful day of glory.

Flashes from cameras blinded the two girls alongside their model dressed in an A-line skirt with a flared hemline of stratified McChicken paper-wraps and an exaggerated to-go-bag-turned-bow atop her head.

When asked about their victorious sweep, Maria's only words were, "It feels McFabulous!"

In short, while the eyebrow raising moments were plentiful, the efforts and skills demonstrated by each student were impressive. And though these students have not yet reached the domineering status of King Jeremy Scott, his designs pale in comparison to the authenticity of each absurd outfit displayed on that ordinary Saturday afternoon down at the beach.

And so, Mr. Scott, the next time you try to tromp the world's leading fast-food chain and challenge its logo, you better make sure that there's no one (student/s) who will rise up to the occasion and push you back. Because this time, you just got served. Literally. Enjoy the Big Mac with that skirt.

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