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Posts Tagged ‘New York Fashion Week’

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Eleanor Lambert, circa 1930s. Photo by Cecil Beaton.

In January 1943 … fifty-three editors from across the United States came to Fashion Week for the first time. The Collections were all to be shown in the glorious, million-square-foot neo-Rococo Plaza Hotel. which, standing at the intersection of Fifth Avenue and Fifty-seventh Street in Manhattan, dominates Grand Army Plaza and overlooks the tangle of Central Park. Here, in the hotel’s majestic, gilded ballrooms, the writers and editors were given a privileged look at the newest styles six months in advance of the upcoming season. 

 

The woman behind the very first Fashion Week in 1943 was Eleanor Lambert (1903-2003), a fashion publicist. Ms. Lambert was all about marketing American fashion and fashion designers. Not only did she come up with the idea of Fashion Week she also founded the International Best Dressed List and the Coty’s Fashion Award.

Up until Fashion Week, regional fashion journalists were limited in their reporting to what fashions were available in the local department stores and boutiques. Ms. Lambert offered journalists from across the country an opportunity to meet designers and see in person their latest designs during an extensive fashion show. What she had in mind was additional and broadened fashion coverage and of course increased sales for her clients.  It certainly was a game changer for fashion journalism.

This is one of many fashion tid-bits I found in the book –  Charles James Portrait of an Unreasonable Man: Fame, Fashion, Art. By Michele Gerber Klein (Rizzoli). Ms. Lambert is one among many individuals (artists, socialites, designers) who circulated around and crossed paths with Charles James. Their stories make for an interesting and informative read.

Fashion Week is still with us. NYFW happens September 6-14, 2018.

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Who are all of these people? I’m not against social media, but I don’t think the doors should be flung open wide so the whole world is at every presentation. It’s become a public convention. At times it feels like Comicon.

Ken Downing, fashion director and senior vice president, Neiman Marcus talking about fashion week.

Yeah, from what I hear New York Fashion Week has become an unpleasant madhouse.

Too many shows, too spread out (now that there’s no central location), and most of all – too many people, apparently, according to Mr. Downing, dressed like clowns. Also the shows never start on time. All this makes it very challenging for those who are  there just trying to do their job.

Oh, and did you know that some of the celebs sitting in the front row are paid to be there? Yep! According to the New York Times Beyonce gets $100,000. Julianne Moore only gets $60,000. (Don’t tell her … we don’t want any cat fights next to the catwalk.)

Meanwhile, the fashion powers that be are pondering the idea of opening up the shows even more and selling tickets to those willing to pay the big bucks. Traditionally one had to be invited and connected to the business – a fashion reporter, editor, buyer, retailer, etc. Or a friend or family member of the designer. Even today you must be invited. But, perhaps eventually the shows will become a real spectator sport and all you’ll need is a few hundred bucks to buy your way in.

 

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NY-BG337_SPEAKE_DV_20111017183610The messaging has changed and become all about the celebrities and not the clothes. What’s a shame is that a fashion show without celebrities is considered blah.

– Fern Mallis, former Executive Director of the Council of Fashion Designers of America.

Why and how did this happen? Well, it might be down to the big investment companies that started gobbling up fashion houses back in the 80s.

The reason for a fashion show today is to market a brand. The bigger the spectacle a show is, the better. Celebrities are a big part of that because their brand brings attention to the fashion brands, which become globally recognized and then the stuff starts to sell. Particularly high profit items like handbags and perfume.

So, let the fashion shows begin.

New York Fashion Week is coming up September 7th -14th.

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