New York is in for an all-new Fashion Week come September. The event has a new location (Lincoln Center) and a new chief planner (ex-Vogue staffer Stephanie Winston Wolkoff), but more importantly, the spirit of inclusiveness. “I want to welcome you to a whole new era, and we’re starting here today,” said CFDA president Diane Von Furstenberg at the announcement of the new Fashion Week layout this morning at Lincoln Center’s David Rubenstein Atrium. “We want to make New York Fashion Week the absolute most styling Fashion Week. And we will make it happen. We made a commitment. It won’t be immediately perfect. But we definitely will [make it happen]. I think it’s going to be a lot of fun.”
The campus will be much bigger than Bryant Park, from the lobby to the runway spaces, explained Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, Director of Fashion for Lincoln Center, or essentially the new face of Fashion Week. Attendees will enter on a red carpet and enjoy a larger lobby, which will also include a schedule of the day’s events projected on the walls. The runway venues are comparable in size to those in Bryant Park. What was the Tent at Bryant Park is now the Theatre at Lincoln Center, a 969-seat venue with a larger backstage area. It will also be the only venue to house a video wall, so designers can play videos during the runway show. The new Promenade is called the Stage, a 740-seat space. And the new Salon is named the Studio, a 396-seat space. Lincoln Center will also house one 125-person venue for presentations — Fashion Week’s first presentation-only space — named the Box. (Other presentation spaces will also be available around the city, but this one is being built specifically for Fashion Week.)
IMG vice-president Zach Eichman announced a partnership with Fashion GPS to centralize invitations, RSVPs, and check-in. If designers so choose, they can have a bar code attached to invitations, and guests can check themselves in. So long check-in lines could be a thing of the past! Lisa Holladay, national manager of experiential marketing for Mercedes-Benz, confirmed that the company will stay on as the sponsor until 2013.
Beyond the largest public fashion show in New York history scheduled for Fashion’s Night Out on September 10, non-industry folk can view collections in special presentations. “We’re also going to have presentation centers outside the tents,” Wolkoff told us after the presentation. “It will allow people to have flexibility so they can be inside the tents for the trade but also outside the tents with the consumer.” Also expect to see thirteen poster-size television screens along 65th Street. Designers can live-stream their shows onto these, if they so choose, interspersed with photographs from the day’s events. Wolkoff also hinted at the possibility of pop-up shops, designer lectures, and other opportunities for the public to engage in Fashion Week.
Wolkoff ideally would like every designer to show at Lincoln Center. “Ultimately, I think Lincoln Center is able to facilitate the need to hold all of these other shows,” Wolkoff explained. “Whether it be all of them, I’m not really saying that, because there are a lot. But I think that we can definitely bring many more under one umbrella and one destination so that all the editors and press are not running all over to different places and it’s more centralized.”
Fern Mallis, who stepped down from her position as IMG senior vice-president yesterday, told us that today’s announcement marks “a whole new ballgame” for Fashion Week. Mallis will stay on as a consultant, but not indefinitely. “You know, it’s all contractual. But we’ll see. If they continue to need me and I want to do it, then great, we’ll go on longer than what we agreed to now.”
In the meantime, Mallis also explained plans for her new consulting business, which will include more than just fashion clients. “I have long experience in interior furnishings and the design world of style and architecture and design and I love that,” she explained. “I do a lot of things internationally. I’m back and forth to India a gazillion times. And there are books, media. There’s all sorts of things.” And just because Mallis isn’t running Fashion Week doesn’t mean that she won’t be there. “I’ll be at the shows in September. They absolutely want me to be there and I want to be there,” she said. “And I’m assuming the designers are still going to invite me to their shows.”