In just a few short days, the press, buyers, and other influential people from all over the world will come together in one spot to see designers showcase their Fall/Winter ’17 collections. During these shows, we will get the first real look into what styles and trends will be popular for the F/W ’17 season. This prestigious event is only held two times a year (September and February) in New York. If you were to ask anyone, they would tell you that New York Fashion Week is surely the hottest ticket in town.
Times have changed incredibly in the past 70 years that Fashion Week has been around, meaning the shows have changed a great deal as well. From the shows being exclusively for press only (buyers weren’t even invited), to a time when only the industry insiders could get the latest scoop and we couldn’t watch live on our tablets, to what seems like a hundred name and location changes. New York Fashion Week has evolved immensely from what it once was seventy years ago.
In 1943, “Press Week” now known as New York Fashion Week, was established by Eleanor Lambert, who was a press director for the New York Dress Institute. This event was held to distract people from not being able to see French Fashion during World War II. During this time, people in the fashion industry were unable to travel to the Paris shows, so this was offered as an alternative. Press Week was such a success, that it resulted in magazines such as Vogue covering more American designers than in the past, according to Wikipedia.
In the mid-1950s, the name of Press Week changed to “Press Week of New York.” During this time, shows were held all over the city in various different venues. After a disastrous show in 1990, when a piece of the ceiling fell on a model while Michael Kors was presenting his collection, the industry agreed that shows shouldn’t be held in various venues and things needed to change. Newyorkfashionweeklive.com reports that by 1993, Fern Mallis, then head of the Council of Fashion Designers of America, combined all of the fashion shows into the white tents in Bryant Park, and it was called “7th on 6th,” named after the event management company founded by the CFDA. In 2001, 7th on 6th was sold to IMG and then became known as “New York Fashion Week.”
In 2004, Olympus became the title sponsor for the shows, and not too long after in 2007, Mercedes-Benz took that position. Therefore, renaming the shows “Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week.” In 2010, the tents in Bryant Park just weren’t big enough to accommodate all of the press and buyers wanting access to these exclusive shows. The CFDA and IMG changed venues and began holding the shows in the Lincoln Center.
As of today, the IMG shows are named “New York Fashion Week: The Shows” and account for a good percentage of the events going on during this week. They are held in the skylight at Moynihan Station, and Skylight at Clarkson Square. Many designers are doing independent shows now that aren’t connected to IMG, or other producers are putting on their own versions of these shows. Looking back on what New York Fashion Week was in 1943, and New York Fashion Week now, you can see how much the event has grown.