In the words of Heidi Klum, “In fashion, one day you’re in and the next you’re out.” So the same goes with the Mercedes-Benz New York Fashion Week tents at Lincoln Center. Long gone are the days when designers, fashionistas and media could all fit under a few sprawling tents. The annual event has grown to become an iconic affair that has burst through its seams and spilled into spaces all across New York City. Fashion houses such as Diane Von Furstenberg, Michael Kors and Tracy Reese are among the better-known brands that have opted to take their catwalks elsewhere for the week-long event.
Amidst complaints that tent life has gone too commercial and suffers from an over-saturation of non-journalists, it’s clear that change is coming. The trouble in fashion paradise doesn’t stop there, however. The Fashion Law reports that according to NYC Park Advocates, a nonprofit watchdog group, $32 million is being diverted from the city’s general fund, constituting “an illegal alienation of Damrosch Park in violation of the New York State Public Trust Doctrine and other laws.” The suit calls for an outright termination of the agreement between Damrosch Park and the Lincoln Center because of extended, restricted public access to the park due to commercial purposes—specifically, the bi-annual Fashion Week extravaganza.
So, while embracing new venue options seems inevitable for designers seeking more stability and exclusivity (depending on who you ask), dashing from show to show à la Carrie Bradshaw through one of the busiest cities in the world can provide a bit of a logistical challenge. Despite the shift Council of Fashion Designers of America CEO Steven Kolb believes the future of Fashion Week looks very bright. “Lincoln Center is one piece of a bigger picture,” says Kolb in a NY Daily News interview. “There are 350 shows. Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week has about 60. IMG has done a great job of listening to the complaints and creating something new.”
Although patrons may have to travel to obscure locales in order to catch the likes of Oscar De La Renta and Vera Wang — other Lincoln Center dropouts — for now, in their place under the mystique of the white tents are a mix of emerging and established designers. In the end, it’s really all about picking which shows that are to “die for,” then figuring out a way to teleport oneself to and from the best ones while looking oh-so-fab.
Photo via Business Insider