NEW YORK — New York Fashion Week has a chance to become a lot less complicated.
The Council of Fashion Designers of America acquired the Fashion Calendar, and over the next few months will integrate the industry tool, which was founded by Ruth Finley in 1945, into its organization.
The move will streamline the scheduling of fashion shows and events in New York, which, with more than 350 shows a season, can be quite a headache, and aims to make the overall fashion week experience easier to navigate for both participating designers and attendees.
The transfer will be in effect Oct. 1. Prior to that date, all scheduling will continue to go through Finley to avoid confusion or disruption of the September shows. Once complete, Finley will stay on as consultant and adviser, while Mary Hackley, who worked at the Fashion Calendar for 12 years, will join the CFDA staff to manage scheduling for the Fashion Calendar.
“The Fashion Calendar has been one of the foundations of our industry, ensuring that the press, retailers and designers are able to come together in an efficient manner,” CFDA president Diane von Furstenberg said. “Now that it is part of the CFDA, we are prepared and excited to take it into the new world.”
Sitting in the CFDA offices with her son Larry Lein, who has practically consulted with her since he was a child, and CFDA chief executive officer Steven Kolb, Finley said the time was right to let the CFDA take over.
“Years back, my original thought was to keep my business in my family, but it turned out I didn’t have any granddaughters who were interested in doing it,” the nonagenarian noted. “One is a doctor, another a lawyer, another still too young. Therefore, as a family business, it wasn’t going to work. That basically changed the whole approach. I felt the CFDA was the ideal solution for keeping it going and I hope it goes on for another 65 years.”
As Lein put it, “Ruth never wants to stop working. She is over 90 now and still very much going strong. The Fashion Calendar has been her life so we had to figure out a transition that would enable her to keep staying involved, and Steven was able to think creatively about how to keep her involved in the business but move it over here under the auspices of the CFDA.”
The CFDA and Fashion Calendar have been longtime collaborators, and their relationship formalized last year when the CFDA took a more active role in the planning of shows and presentations for February. As part of this, the CFDA launched NYFWList, for example, a mobile application and desktop tool that was designed to move the calendar online. It also featured its own user-friendly version of the fashion week calendar that could sort events via specific categories, i.e., women’s or men’s wear, accessories, venue locations or runway shows versus presentations.
“In November, Ruth, Larry, Diane and I got together to talk about the future of scheduling, the future of the Fashion Calendar, and sharing some of the feedback we were getting from the industry,” Kolb noted. “That’s really where it began.”
The New York Fashion Week schedule is the most congested of the four fashion capitals. Often, two or three shows take place at the same time, and on several occasions, significant designers were forced to share their time slots.
The aim is to address that under the CFDA. Kolb called the CFDA-owned calendar “a new authority and a new knowledge base on fashion week, given our work with young designers, for example. We are very intimately aware of who they are, and who they compete with. We can look beyond just who shows where and when. We can look at the total volume of shows and how the calendar and us owning it can address that.”
Not having full control over scheduling did not benefit the mission of the CFDA, he added, which is to help strengthen the influence and success of American designers in the global economy.
“I believe there is an American entrepreneurialism that is good for fashion, the fact that anybody can show, but can we use the calendar as a way to create more structure, so that it hopefully becomes less cumbersome for people who are attending the shows,” said Kolb.
IMG’s Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week and Made play key roles in the success of fashion week, and supported the acquisition, said Kolb. “With all the other shows happening around the city, there is more value in that being branded together as New York Fashion Week, and that’s part of the evolution of the calendar, taking the concept and really defining New York Fashion Week.”
To that end, the CFDA is working with strategy agency Redscout to define the New York Fashion Week brand that could serve as an umbrella to bring the many disparate elements of the shows together. Those disparate elements go beyond the two main fashion weeks each year, and could result in more defined weeks for resort, pre-fall, bridal as well as a separate men’s fashion week, which the CFDA is considering. Events throughout the year will also continue to be a main area of focus for the calendar. Redscout is canvasing industry insiders for feedback on ways to improve the New York shows.
Kolb declined to disclose financial details of the transaction.
“The money wasn’t the driver for Ruth,” Lein noted. “It was really the idea that her life’s work would be continued and she’d be able to be a part of it ongoing.”
The contract was signed on July 14 at the CFDA offices. New York-based law firm Hand Baldachin & Amburgey provided legal advice to the CFDA, while Mandelbaum Salsburg advised Fashion Calendar.
The calendar is expected to remain subscription-based, and operate as an independent P&L within the CFDA that will continue to generate revenue. The calendar has more than 700 subscribers, of which about two-thirds are online and one-third still receive the printed version in the mail.
As for Finley’s plans on Oct. 1, chances are she will still show up at work. As she put it, “I am on call, whenever they want me.”
In his new book “Hollywood Royale,” Andy Warhol’s Protégé Matthew Rolston celebrates the Eighties revival of Hollywood glamour. Featuring more than 100 portraits taken by Rolston from 1977 to 1993, the book contains photos of icons like Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, and @drewbarrymore, pictured here in 1991. “Hollywood Royale,” out today, will be accompanied by an exhibition opening at Los Angeles’ Fahey/Klein Gallery on March 1. #wwdeye
"Nowadays when life is not so happy with everything going on in the world, I think people come to me for a little bit of whimsy and color and fun." - Designer Rebecca De Ravenel on her cult-favorite jewelry line. (📸 : @vsteves) #wwd40
“Everyone is talking about how the retail industry is struggling, but I think it’s an incredible time because brands who are doing something different and innovative are setting themselves up for the future,” said @adamgoldston, who founded the luxury athletic brand @apl with his brother @ryangoldsten. The Goldston’s are part of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables. See the rest of the list on WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
@eyeswoon blogger Athena Calderone debuted her first-ever cookbook, “Cook Beautiful,” which is heavily centered on the presentation and visual expression of food. Pictured here are her miso glazed carrots from the book. Get the recipe on WWD.com. (📷: @johnny_miller_) #wwdeye
“It’s passion that helps get anybody to a certain point and it’s what’s propelled me,” said Kith founder @ronniefieg, one of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables who are changing the face of retail, fashion and beauty. Fieg, who opened a Manhattan flagship on October 7, began his career at age 13 as a stock boy and salesman for footwear chain David Z. “I think staying true to [my] beliefs, hard work and passion have gotten me to where [Kith] is today.” See the rest of the 40 at WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
25-year-old @samweaving is about to break out this fall, starring in Netflix’s horror film “The Babysitter,” fittingly out today on Friday the 13th. That’s not the only place you’ll be seeing her, though — Weaving’s got a role Showtime’s “SMILF” and another alongside Frances McDormand and Woody Harrelson in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” Though she’s got a full plate at the moment, there’s one role she’s got her eye on: Marilyn Monroe. “I’m a little too young at the moment, but it’s on my bucket list,” the actress told WWD (📷: @dandoperalski) #wwdeye
BFF's Poppy Jamie and Suki Waterhouse celebrated the launch of their bag line Pop x Suki at Nordstrom last night. "The line is really about our friendship, and how we are so different but complement each other," said Waterhouse. 👯 (📷: Katie Jones) #wwdeye
After designing the new @louisvuitton and @bulgariofficial flagships and a @chanelofficial boutique opening in Japan, @petermarinoarchitect has another project on his plate: The Lobster Club. Located in the Seagram Building, it’s the famed architect’s first restaurant project in New York, serving up modern Japanese brasserie-style cuisine. Bronze hues, bespoke material detailing, blush and chartreuse tones and a heavy emphasis on Picasso can be seen throughout. Mark your calendars for Nov. 1 for the much-anticipated opening. (📷: @clint_spaulding) #wwdeye
Did you know: @carlychaikin of "Mr. Robot" has been painting for about a decade? The actress, who plays Darlene on the show, is a self-taught artist who lists Salvador Dalí and Chuck Close as some of her idols. Chaikin told WWD that painting is a form of meditation for her — A much-needed one given the intensity of "Mr. Robot." See a piece Chaikin is working on at WWD.com (📷: @jilliansollazzo) #wwdeye