News & Runway

NY Fashion Week Moves Further Uptown

In less than three weeks, an army of svelte fashionistas in six-inch Louboutins and eye-popping ensembles will invade New York.

It happens every year, a week after Labor Day, only this time, these statuesque babes will not be posing and teetering on 42nd Street between Sixth and Fifth Avenues. All the action has moved uptown, where traditionally lovely, young women evoke rhapsody and abandon in pointe shoes, not Jimmy Choo stillettoes.

New York Fashion Week has moved to new digs at Lincoln Center. Instead of hustling from one canvassed tent to the next, some designer collections will be showcased in the hallowed halls of Avery Fisher Hall, the NY State Theater, and other Lincoln Center performance spaces.

NY Fashion Week’s move to Lincoln Center was well-thought out, resulting from the need to include more designer’s collections.

As great as The Tents at Bryant Park were, NY Fashion Week had outgrown that venue. “As NY Fashion Week has grown, Bryant Park simply could not accommodate the growth in the industry and all the designers that wanted to show in New York … Lincoln Center gives more of an opportunity for growth than Bryant Park,” comments top fashion photographer Jennifer Graylock.

But the history of NY Fashion Week goes back to before The Tents at Bryant Park. In 1943, NY Fashion Week, then called Press Week, was organized by fashion publicist Eleanor Lambert as an alternative to presentations in Paris when fashion insiders could not travel to Europe because of the war. As the first organized fashion week, Press Week showcased American designers and impressed upon fashion magazines the need to include American designers in their publications. (Fashion magazines up until that time rarely included American designer’s collections.) 

Press Week, later renamed NY Fashion Week, in 1994 centralized its location in The Tents at Bryant Park. “Before The Tents, designers showcased their collections in their showrooms, which could only facilitate a small amount of people,” says Jennifer Graylock. “Editors had to literally run from one showroom to the next, just to see the major American collections. It was extraordinarily difficult for fashion editors and writers to meet their deadlines because everything was so spread out. Fern Mallis orchestrated putting everything in one place, Bryant Park, which made it easier on everyone.”

This brilliant move to Bryant Park made NY Fashion Week a household name, and solidified fashion in the minds of American consumers.  NY Fashion Week is now the largest fashion week, and outrivals similar weeks in London, Paris, Milan, and Tokyo. 

Still, time moves on. From September 9-16, over 90 designers will present their Spring/Summer 2011 Collections at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts with additional presentations held in other venues throughout NYC.

“NY Fashion Week has changed and grown so much,” confides Graylock. "It is the be all and end all for a generation who heard about NY Fashion when they were in grade school, and now some of them are actually living out their dreams by being a part of it.”