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.”
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Not only does #TheProfit return to CNBC tonight, but @marcuslemonis has launched @shopmarcus, a new shopping and lifestyle retail experience in Aspen and Chicago, with more locations to come. The retail stores offer in-store stylists and a variety of contemporary womenswear selections.
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@louisvuitton tapped @therealpeterlindbergh for its latest city-centric photo book, which is part of a series called Fashion Eye. The primarily black and white book captures the spirit of Berlin in 57 images shot between 1989 and 2019. “Berlin is an inspiration for me, more than a city. I mean @millajovovich is simply Berlin!” said Lindbergh. #wwdfashion
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@kith is moving into children’s. The men’s and women’s streetwear brand has launched Kidset, a Kith kids line located in New York at 64 Bleecker Street. The line includes mini versions of staple Kith pieces like the Astor bomber jacket and the Kith box logo sweatshirts, along with a wall that can display up to 120 pairs of shoes from @adidas, @newbalance, @timberland and more. #wwdfashion
“I just wanted to create this fully rounded character, but I do think what excited me most was just the opportunity to give a group of people representation that I feel needs it. I like to do characters in projects that stand for something and Karolina definitely does, so that was really exciting to me,” @ginnygardner says of her new role in @hulu’s “The Runaways.” Gardner plays Karolina Dean, a queer superhero, which is a rarity for @marvel. Read more about Gardner’s character on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @dandoperalski)