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Have The Publishers Perished?

<CS:BOLD>NEW YORK -- Publishers are having a tough year in more ways than one. <BR><BR>In fact, you may be hard-pressed to find one this week. While most people have applauded the fact that this week's fashion shows will be smaller and more intimate...

NEW YORK — Publishers are having a tough year in more ways than one.

In fact, you may be hard-pressed to find one this week. While most people have applauded the fact that this week’s fashion shows will be smaller and more intimate this season, particularly those who’ve been invited, those who got the ax are the publishers.

“That’s definitely the case,” said a spokesman for Kevin Krier, the show production company that’s involved with seven shows this season, including such hot tickets as Carolina Herrera, Badgley Mischka, Rick Owens and Catherine Malandrino. “With the tent situation down to 688 from about 980 to 990 people,” the publishers couldn’t be accommodated. “At the end of the day you want the editors who pull the collection and write about the collections. Publishers are very important, but for a show you’re trying to get maximum press coverage.” He said that 90 percent of those people who didn’t get an invite have been willing to accept that.

“All the presidents [of media companies] get invites, but they generally don’t come because they’re too busy,” he added.

Cathleen Black, president of Hearst Magazines, for example, will be traveling part of the week, but will be attending some shows when she’s in town, according to a Hearst spokeswoman. Mary Berner, president of Fairchild Publications, whose properties include WWD, W, Jane and Details, said, “I plan to go to one or two shows where the designer has made it clear that my attendance matters. That said, frankly, I don’t know why publishers go at all. They don’t review the shows so I’ve never been clear about what the point is. The shows are for the editors and all this rigmarole about publishers has gotten out of hand. If I had space constraints, that’s exactly what I’d do.” And a spokesman for Jack Kliger, chief executive officer of Hachette Filipacchi Magazines, said, “He has been invited to a number of shows, but will be out of town on business.”

Patti Cohen, a spokeswoman for Donna Karan, said that publishers hardly ever come to Karan’s Collection shows because of the limited space at her showroom. “We would like to show everybody, but given the fact that Donna Karan is done in a more intimate environment, we’re not able to,” she said.

Anne Klein, however, will be able to seat some publishers for its show at the Gallery at Bryant Park, which can accommodate 501 people. “We invited a select group of publishers and we are seating them,” said Dee Salomon, senior vice president, marketing and corporate communications, at Anne Klein. “We have a packed house.”