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Lincoln Center’s New Fashion Week Director Challenges PETA to Come and Get Her

Fashion Week’s last run in Bryant Park is just weeks away. In September the shows will go on in Lincoln Center’s Damrosch Park. And so Fashion Week organizers have created a new Fashion Week director position to ensure the venue change goes smoothly. Industry bigwigs held a very fancy, very official party last night at Diane Von Furstenberg’s meatpacking-district headquarters to welcome Stephanie Winston Wolkoff to the job. So what exactly is she doing all day? “A day in the life right now is really getting to know the whole Lincoln Center campus, all the auxiliary buildings, all the constituent buildings, as well as all the people within Lincoln Center that help facilitate everything that’s going to happen at Lincoln Center,” she told us. “Working with everyone at IMG, CFDA, the designers, just walking them through what all the different possibilities will be at Lincoln Center in September. Right now, there’s nothing that I walk into on a day-to-day basis that’s the same thing. Every day is different.” Auxiliary? Constituent? Fashion Week? Sounds hard, but Wolkoff is a tough cookie, after serving as Vogue editor Anna Wintour’s special-events planner (she oversaw the Met Gala, of all things). “It’s a job that I’m looking forward to really succeeding at.” Well what if animal-rights activists storm the runways or stage upsetting protests? Wolkoff, clad in a white, maybe-fake, maybe-not fur shawl, said, “I’ve had no problem with PETA after eleven years working with Anna, so come get me!”

Wintour recommended Wolkoff for the role. “When Anna suggested Stephanie, it was such a good idea,” Diane Von Furstenberg explained. “In essence, Stephanie will be an ambassador. We needed someone who knows who is who and how to handle everything. When we had the incident at the White House in January and some strange people walked in, my first reaction was, ‘It would never happen if Stephanie were there.’”

Fashion folks showed a mix of excitement and resignation about Fashion Week’s move to Lincoln Center. Fern Mallis emphasized that shows will still take place in the comforting tents we’re all used to when the move to Lincoln Center happens. But, she said, “it’s been eighteen years, it’s time for a change. Bryant Park was home in many ways, but if we have to move, we’re moving to one of the most interesting and iconic locations in the world.” She added that the CFDA weighed other options, too. “Milk wouldn’t be big enough for the whole event, but [we considered] the West Side Pier. Cabdrivers would be like, ‘What street?’ You can’t get in, you can’t get out. And certainly rubbing shoulders with all of the arts and culture is very exciting for fashion.”

Realizing that many people at this function might be afraid to say what they really think, we approached a woman who would give it to us straight: Kelly Cutrone. “I think designers, what they really care about is: Are people going to come to my show? Can you get me an affordable venue? What am I going to get? And can you please give me more than what I’m paying for? And that’s kind of the framework of what will make a designer happy,” she explained. “Everybody understands that it’s New York and it’s time to move on, there’s no real choice. It’s not like, ‘Should we have, like, a 1-800 number where people can phone in and call and vote about if we should stay in Bryant Park or go to Lincoln Center?’ We’re being nixed and we’ve got to move on. Listen, I remember when I went to Bryant Park and I remember what that represented to me. And I remember when I went to Paris and I heard about this place called the Carrousel du Louvre, and I was like, ‘Oh my God, that sounds so fancy.’ And I didn’t even know how to say it. And then I went there and I was like, ‘It’s a shopping mall.’ And when I went to Bryant Park I was like, ‘It’s midtown.’ Now we’re like the Jeffersons, we’re movin’ on up.”

Lincoln Center’s New Fashion Week Director Challenges PETA to Come and Get Her