With the appearance of actors Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson strutting their stuff on the Valentino catwalk during Paris Fashion Week, fans of the 2001 movie Zoolander learned that another round of “Blue Steel” was headed their way. The actors walked the runway Tuesday afternoon as their original Zoolander characters, Derek Zoolander and Hansel McDonald, as a way to announce the upcoming sequel.
Stiller and Wilson closed the autumn/winter 2015 Valentino show with a “walk-off,” which hearkened back to the original film. Their surprise appearance did what some say the designer’s low-key collection, with collaboration by artist Celia Birtwell, failed to do – create a atmosphere of excitement. As the men emerged, the audience seemed to pause in one simultaneous gasp before rushing toward Stiller and Wilson with camera phones flashing.
Although the fashion presented at the show was refined (some said staid), the clothing worn by Stiller and Wilson during their turn on the runway was, of course, fabulous. Stiller was clad in a custom-made brocade suit and a hand-embroidered coat. Wilson’s overcoat was cashmere, worn over silk pajamas. Some fashion show regulars said the appearance of the actors was the best thing about fashion week so far.
During their walk, both men appeared on the runway as self-assured male models. They struck poses for the cameras before walking off the runway, shedding their coats as perfectly as any supermodel to ever sashay down a catwalk. Stiller stopped briefly to snap a selfie of himself with an audience member’s smartphone.
The hush-hush deal had been planned for months, said a Valentino representative. Co-designer of the Valentino line, Pierpaolo Piccioli, said that the decision to allow Stiller and Wilson, whose Zoolander lampooned the fashion industry, to close the show was a way to prove that the fashion house is not as serious as is thought.
Detractors of the decision by Valentino to showcase Stiller and Wilson claim that the entire collection will be lost in the publicity surrounding the actors. Fears are that nobody will remember the light-as-air gowns or Chinese dragon-printed dresses showcased.
Stiller directed and co-starred in the original Zoolander movie, which was based on two short films co-written by Stiller for airing on the VH1 Fashion Awards in 1996 and 1997. The Zoolander pieces centered around a male model, acted by Stiller, who is not very bright. The character’s name, Derek Zoolander, was taken from the names of real-life models Mark Vanderloo and Johnny Zander. In the original film, Zoolander finds himself being used by crooked fashion executives in an assassination plot against Malaysia’s prime minister. Wilson plays an up-and-coming male model who becomes Zoolander’s chief rival.
Zoolander received generally good reviews by critics. The movie, released on Sept. 28, 2001, was made with a budget of $28 million and earned $60.7 million during its box office release.
The sequel to Zoolander is scheduled to be filmed this spring in Europe and has a scheduled release date of Feb. 12, 2016. It is unknown if the “walk-off” performed by Stiller and Wilson to close the Valentino fashion show will be a part of the movie.
By Jennifer Pfalz