In 1993, Bryant Park was known more for drug dealers than fashion shows, and New York Fashion Week was a hodgepodge of venues spread around Manhattan and overcrowded Seventh Avenue showrooms never meant to hold a runway show.
Then the Council of Fashion Designers of America helped the industry say goodbye to falling ceilings (on Suzy Menkes’ head at a Michael Kors show), stampedes into fire-trap elevators (shows at 550 Seventh Avenue were infamous) and frantic cab rides all around town — events that for years marred fashion week.
The CFDA experimented with centralized shows at the Hotel Macklowe for two seasons, but that venue was too small for many designers.
Drawing inspiration from a huge tent show in Central Park during the Democratic National Convention in 1992, the CFDA set up tents in the park behind the New York Public Library, replete with a production company called 7th on Sixth, and transformed the twice-a-year events and the image of the park into a success story that typifies the city and Seventh Avenue. CFDA leaders defied critics and put New York on the map of fashion capitals as never before.
“I think it’s had an enormous impact,” said Fern Mallis, executive director of 7th on Sixth. “It changed the face of fashion in New York. It put American designers front and center by attracting hundreds of international press every season to cover the shows.”
Mallis acknowledged there were plenty of skeptics who questioned centralizing the shows and whether the industry would cooperate, about choosing Bryant Park as a venue and about the CFDA producing the shows. The CFDA has since sold 7th on Sixth to IMG, with Mallis going along with the production entity.
There was a disastrous one-season foray to the Chelsea Piers in 1997, which was decried for its poor location alongside the West Side Highway, but other than that, Bryant Park has become the hub of New York Fashion Week.
“I’m very proud about what we’ve accomplished,” Mallis said. “We’ve maintained a core of the industry at Bryant Park every season and it’s become an institution. But in this industry, you always run the risk of people getting bored, so we invite feedback from the designers and everyone involved in the shows…and work to keep things fresh and innovative.”
@fearofgod and @maxfieldla have teamed up on a pop-up installation. The store, located in the gallery space across from Maxfield’s Melrose Ave location, is the site of the brand’s House of God pop-up in which Fear of God founder @jerrylorenzo has created a church-inspired installation. A dozen vintage church pews sit in front of an LED screen playing 90s gospel singers in an effort to re-create an environment akin to a Southern Baptist Church, Lorenzo explained. Read more about the pop-up on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: Jennifer Johnson)
Known for his sleek, sophisticated American glamour, Norman Norell is the subject of an upcoming exhibition at @fitnyc. “Norell: Dean of American Fashion,” which runs from February 9 through April 14, will feature approximately 100 ensembles and accessories. His best work is exemplified by the designer’s glittering “mermaid” gowns frosted with thousands of hand-sewn sequins – like the one pictured. (📷: William Helburn) #wwdfashion
For pre-fall 2018, @balmain didn’t let go of the glitz. A crystal embroidered baseball jacket priced at around $40,000 hangs in the “couture” section of the brand’s first men’s pre-collection. Sporting the words “Balmain Army” across the back, the item took around two months to make. “When it was completed, it was like Christmas, it was like, ‘It’s done, it’s exactly what I wanted,’” said Balmain’s creative director @olivier_rousteing during a tour of the collection in a Paris showroom on Monday. #wwdfashion
Eighty degree temperatures and outdoor installations at the annual Art Basel Miami Beach called for bright, elevated beachwear. See more street style pictures on WWD.com. #theyarewearing #ABMB (📷: @lifeinreverie)
Following September’s emotional tribute to her brother Gianni, Donatella Versace wanted to bring the spring show’s deep sense of intimacy to her @versace_official pre-fall collection. Donatella found inspiration in Versace Palazzo in Milan and from Gianni’s opulent apartment. Archival patterns and new motifs were splashed on silk shirtdresses and fitted jersey frocks. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com. #wwdfashion
Demna Gvasalia continues to shake up the Paris fashion calendar — and experiment with new runway timetables for his @vetements_official brand. WWD has learned that Vetements plans to stage its next coed show for the fall 2018 season on January 19 during Men’s Fashion Week in the French capital. Details about the timing and venue have not been confirmed — stay tuned on WWD.com to catch the latest. #wwdnews (📷: @giovanni_giannoni_photo)
@zacposen's go-to holiday gift? Cookies! "I'll usually bake cookies and send them as a gift," said the designer, who recently released his cookbook "Cooking With Zac: Recipes from Rustic to Refined." Get the recipe for his Brown Butter-Chocolate Chip Cookies via link in bio 🍪🍪🍪 #wwdeye #cookingwithzac
For @monsemaison’s pre-fall 2018 collection, Fernando Garcia and Laura Kim honed in on the brand’s many signatures — men’s wear, which was tweaked and feminized through deconstruction, proportion play and lots of bare shoulders. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: George Chinese)
On Friday night, @yohjiyamamotoofficial received the Design for Asia Lifetime Achievement Award in Hong Kong. The 75-year-old designer has been celebrated for many years and is best known for his dark and avant-garde tailoring. “In my long career, in design, architecture, [I’ve been to] so many parties, this is the very first time that I have such a warm feeling, I really appreciate this,” Yamamoto said. #wwdfashion (📷: @dominiquemaitre)