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What Do Slash and Anna Delvey Have in Common? A New York Designer

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SLASH’S GOODWILL AT THE OSCARS: How does a little-known New York-based designer land global media exposure by not just dressing a key Oscar Night performer, but a scene-stealer, too?

For Shao Yang, that one-in-a-million opportunity was realized thanks to the fact that the musician Slash wore her designs to perform “I’m Just Ken” with Ryan Gosling during ABC’s telecast — a major takeaway for many.

It was Slash’s stylist Katja Cahill who initiated the opportunity by contacting the designer’s publicity team at People’s Revolution. The response was “immediate” and Yang sent sketches for both Slash of Guns N’ Roses fame and his partner Meegan Hodges, People’s Revolution founder Kelly Cutrone said.

Well aware that the bulk of designers and luxury brands shell out big bucks to suit up celebrities for the Oscars, Cutrone said Slash wore Yang’s designs for free. The alliance marked the first time in more than 20 years that Cutrone hadn’t had to pay a celebrity to wear the clothes of one of her clients.

Yang, who is the creative force behind Tailory NY, a LGBQTIA+ bespoke operation, launched her Shao New York label in September 2023. Despite her under-the-radar status, Yang’s rooftop runway show during New York Fashion Week attracted a windfall of publicity. The former fake heiress Anna Sorokin, aka, Anna Delvey (whose con artist past and subsequent jail time were portrayed in Netflix’s “Inventing Anna” series) hosted Yang’s show, while under house arrest. Still pitching in with Yang, the 33-year-old was on the phone with the designer and People’s Revolution “all night” during the March 10 Oscars, Cutrone said.

Cahill was familiar with the Delvey connection, but it was not known if Slash was aware of it, she said.

As a self-funded young designer, just developing samples for a possible Oscar opportunity can be costly. However, with Cahill’s guarantee that Yang’s designs would be among the final three choices that were presented, the team decided to go forward with the protypes. Yang’s back story — a Taiwanese immigrant who moved to the U.S. at the age of 5 and now runs a small business on Canal Street — resonated with Cahill, Slash and Hodges, Cutrone said. After having her first show, Yang also had to take the season off to rebuild her business after paying for it.

Before the Oscars, the British-American Grammy-winner was out of town. Once he touched down in Los Angeles on the day of the event, Slash went directly to a fitting. “There was no wiggle room for, ‘Whoops, we got the pattern wrong, or whoops, he gained weight,’” Cutrone said.

Anna Delvey (left center) with Shao Shang and Kelly Cutrone.

Randy BROOKE

Yang created a Shao distressed lambskin leather tailored suit with metal buttons and skintight boot-cut pants for Slash’s red carpet appearance and a black silk velvet cutaway tuxedo with black satin lapels, buttons and high-waist flare-leg pants for Hodges. The 58-year-old Grammy winner polished off his ensemble with an oversize black top hat. To play guitar during Gosling’s performance, Slash swapped out the Shao jacket but sported the pants.

Although Yang is still selling via e-commerce and working with private clients, she rejiggered her staff and took a season off after her 2023 runway show at Delvey’s apartment building. “She could have shown, but I thought she shouldn’t to build her business,” Cutrone said. “Even though her suiting is amazing, we’re going to add in more ready-to-wear and streetwear into the collection for September.”

Yang said via e-mail, I’m not going to lie — it is a struggle launching a brand with limited funds and a new name. We’re eternally grateful that Slash and Meegan helped us drive the brand forward.”

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