VERSUS TO KICK OFF BRYANT PARK SHOWS

Byline: Arthur Friedman

NEW YORK--When Gianni Versace brings his Versus collection here next month, it will be under the tents in Bryant Park.
Versace will open the week-long festivities on Oct. 28, said Fern Mallis, executive director of 7th on Sixth, the organizer of the runway shows, which operates under the auspices of the Council of Fashion Designers of America. Mallis is also executive director of CFDA.
Versace will show Versus--his contemporary collection--in the Gertrude Pavilion, the larger of the two tents erected in the park for the semiannual runway shows, Mallis said.
A specific time has not been set, but Mallis said the show will take place in the late afternoon or early evening. It will be the only Saturday show and will be followed by DKNY and other shows on Sunday. The week of runway presentations concludes on Nov. 3.
"We're very excited about Versace showing here," Mallis said. "We've had discussions with Versace in the past, and I'm glad we could work things out this time."
Versace and Miuccia Prada, who has shown her Miu Miu collection here the past two seasons, are the lone Italian designers participating in 7th on Sixth, Mallis noted. British fashion house Ghost will also return to the tents, after skipping them for a season.
"It's nice to have the Europeans come here because it shows how important New York is to the fashion world," Mallis said. "But 7th on Sixth is about American designers, so we have to be careful about who shows."
Meanwhile, Mallis said final details are being worked out with Arc Restaurants, which runs the new Bryant Park Grill in the southeast corner of the park. Part of the restaurant infringes on space used for the Gertrude tent, and the organizations have been negotiating for several months.
"We've agreed in principle, and we're sure an agreement will be reached," Mallis said, noting that the deal would most likely allow the tents to be erected as they have been in the past.
Arc Restaurants officials declined to comment.

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