By Argot Murelius, exclusive fashion correspondent
It was a stormy fashion week! First we were hit by rather shocking news, William Morris Endeavor and IMG, the organizers of the shows at Lincoln Center were recently given an eviction notice, forcing them out of Lincoln Center and making them scramble to find a new home for the tents next fall, all due to allegations of having taken over too much of the public piazza. Then we found out that Mercedez Benz has pulled out as the event’s main sponsor, roughly at the same time as American Express announced they were going to desert what is officially called Mercedez Benz Fashion Week. That the event will change names is perhaps not such a big deal but that WME-IMG are rumored to acquire MBFW’s competitor, Made Fashion Week, sparked wild speculations. Made works on a non-profit basis, offering younger, unestablished designers the means to show their collections free of charge. The founder, Mazdack Rassi, claims that all profits are sunk straight back into the company to promote new creators (Amex will continue to sponsor Made.) How this non-profit organization will collaborate with money-hungry WME-IMG remains to be seen.
Rassi denies that there is any rivalry between MBFW and Made, however, it was at Made’s premises that Mayor Bill de Blasio chose to stage a press conference about the financial impact of New York’s fashion industry. It turns out that fashion week is a cash cow, last year it brought in more revenue than the Super Bowl (Hosted by New York City.) It is even more lucrative than the US Open, fashion week generates over $900 million per year.
“Made in New York” is having a moment. The Mayor has rolled out a program that will pump three times Bloomberg’s budget, $15 million will be sunk into the city’s garment industry, engaging manufacturers, young designers, fashion students and the greater general public. Part of this money will go to education, new technology and various initiatives to support the local industry. All of $5 million is being invested in advertising campaigns that will promote the city’s garment business. The new site Madeinnyfashion.nyc will supply the industry with resources, information, news and tips about events, as well as shine a light on locally manufactured fashion. The city’s garment industry employs 180 000 New Yorkers and pays $11 billion in salaries, it generates $2 billion in tax revenues every year.
This summer the CFDA will launch a menswear fashion week, inspired by Florence’s Pitti Uomo and London’s men’s fashion week, it premieres the 13th to 16th of July. Presentations and shows by Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein Collection, Rag & Bone, Michael Kors, Patrik Ervell, Billy Reid, Michael Bastian, Ducky Brown and Public School are already on the schedule. In a recent article, The New York Times’ fashion editor Vanessa Friedman wondered whether this event will manage to lure visitors, “fashion week fatigue” has become a serious affection, it seems as if there’s a fashion week taking place somewhere in the world year round. To fly back and forth across the planet to look at yet more clothes is neither innovative or curative.
Are you still curious enough to wonder where MBFW will end up after Lincoln Center? Rumor has it that the former general post office on 33rd Street and Eighth Avenue could become its next location until the event moves to the west side’s Hudson Yards in two years (Still under construction.) There are over 130 000 square meters of empty space in this impressive, landmarked building from 1912, so it would seem like a suitable solution.
The coldest winter in a century made it less than savory to traverse Manhattan from one show to another. A ruthless, influenza-inducing wind slapped everyone from celebrities to minor fashionistas across the face, leaving us all grabbing for the Kleenex. Despite the frigid temperatures there were still those who thought it was a great idea to parade the streets in strappy sandals and bare legs, to be photographed by Tommy Ton or Phil Oh was perhaps worth the frostbite. Seasonally inappropriate clothing is on the other hand an indication of where in the food chain a fashion show attendee stands. Open-toed shoes = has a car and driver = important. Arctic parka = cannot stomach waiting for a taxi in a mesh top = insignificant. I gave up my fashion cred in favor of warmth, for as they say in Swedish, “there is no such thing as bad weather, there is only bad clothing.” An idiom that always makes New Yorkers laugh.
Overall we heard a familiar tune of less original quality this season. There was loud talk of designers having pinched ideas, notably from Nicolas Ghesquière, Phoebe Philo and Rei Kawakubo. “Philo-Light” has become a minor refrain – this watered down version of Céline’s strict ulsters, roomy sweaters and wide-legged pants was indefatigably whistled around town.
THANK YOU ARGOT MURELIUS FOR YOUR WONDERFUL REPORT