With some New York fashion shows costing upward of $150,000, market observers wonder whether designers, especially the younger ones, will bypass the runways in February.

This story first appeared in the November 24, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

IMG Fashion, which owns Seventh on Sixth, only recently sent out venue packages for the February shows in Bryant Park and is just starting to get reservations, so it was unable to say whether any companies will skip the season.

Fern Mallis, senior vice president of IMG, said the organizers still plan to have three venues in February, and “we are fully prepared to work with any designers who want to do a presentation versus a runway show.”

“Businesses are still in business, and they need to show that they are in business,” she added.

But Mallis recognizes the tough times might call for a different approach by some firms. For example, she recommended that two or three younger designers in similar markets team up for their presentation to split costs.

Mallis said she’s had inquiries from several major designers — who in the past haven’t shown at the Bryant Park tents — about using the venue this year, because the costs are often lower than they would be off-site. She expects potential cutbacks would mean fewer extravagant events and parties during fashion week.

“Editors and guests that need to go to shows often have to go to store openings and other parties,” Mallis said. “This year, we are anticipating we might see less of that happening.”

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