NEW YORK — 7th on Sixth’s return to Bryant Park next month will be a more intimate affair with about 20 designers showing there, but the organization has confirmed a lineup of heavy hitters that could deliver a powerful comeback from the decimated spring collections.

The organization also said it has teamed up with Rand.M Productions to produce another 18 shows for smaller companies at the Puck Building in SoHo during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, scheduled from Feb. 8-15, confirming a WWD report on Dec. 12.

In addition to big American names like Tommy Hilfiger, Michael Kors, Oscar de la Renta, Anne Klein and Bill Blass, 7th on Sixth said on Monday that Jeremy Scott, who recently moved his business from Paris to Los Angeles, will show in the tents, as will London designer Matthew Williamson. Their presence will add another boost to the New York collections, already buzzing this week with word that Nicolas Ghesquiere will show his spring Balenciaga collection here, although in an alternate venue.

Due to the recession and the tremendous impact on designer sales in the U.S. since the Sept. 11 attacks — which took place at the beginning of the spring shows — many firms are scaling back their marketing efforts this year, including fashion show plans.

Fern Mallis, executive director of 7th on Sixth and vice president of IMG, which bought the production company last year, said the current economic climate precipitated a smaller roster of February shows. Typically, there are more than 100 shows on the New York calendar, with as many as 50 held in Bryant Park.

“Everything we did was market-driven this season,” she said. “I’m feeling a very strong sense of wanting to make New York hot this season, and a lot of designers are committed to making a statement about New York right now.”

This season, 7th on Sixth has redesigned its venues to include two spaces in Bryant Park, rather than four, each with four shows scheduled per day. There are an additional three spaces in the Puck Building on Houston Street.

“The Theater,” a smaller version of the former “Tent,” will seat 700 guests and rents for $34,000. “The Gallery” will seat 424 people and rents for $40,000, a higher price that reflects more luxurious appointments, such as solid walls, a dropped ceiling and better carpet so that it looks like a showroom. The rentals are slightly higher than in previous seasons and will accommodate fewer guests, as the largest venue could seat more than 1,000 in the past, but 7th on Sixth has also increased its services with additional security, ushers and video production for each show.

Also confirmed to show in the tents at press time were Boss Hugo Boss, BCBG Max Azria, Luella Bartley, Chaiken, Perry Ellis, Douglas Hannant, Luca Luca, Bob Mackie, Cynthia Rowley, Ralph Rucci, Cynthia Steffe and Anna Sui.

The three Rand.M produced venues will be known as Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week SoHo, and range from $11,000 to $17,000, seating 180 to 450 people. Among the companies showing there are Private, Manuel Fernandez, Shin Choi, Y&Kei, Oliver Christian Herold, Donald Deal, Zang Toi, Valentin Yudashkin, Custo Barcelona, Keenan, YM Mega Denim, Girls Rule!, European Designers Collective, Nanette Lepore, Dugg by Douglas Hobbs, Angel Rox and the Nijole Group Show.

7th on Sixth is also working with associate members to coordinate the various shows expected to be held off site. They include those of Kenneth Cole, Nautica, Calvin Klein and Diane Von Furstenberg. Helmut Lang has not yet said whether he plans to show in New York next month.

The organization also confirmed that in addition to its Mercedes-Benz title sponsorship, returning sponsors for the fall collections are Evian, Target, Style Channel, Harper’s Bazaar, the New York Times and Style.com.

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