When the mayor cut the ribbon marking the start of Fashion Week at Bryant Park on Friday morning, he said it was the first time he’d ever attended 7th on Sixth.
“I’ve never been invited to the shows. My friend Oscar has never invited me before,” he said, referring to Oscar de la Renta, who was one of a score of major fashion leaders assembled in front of the tents for the ribbon cutting. “I don’t know why, Oscar.”
Not one to miss a beat, Tommy Hilfiger stepped forward to assure Bloomberg he’d be welcome.
“On behalf of all the designers in America, I would like to thank Mayor Bloomberg,” he said. “And I would like to invite Mayor Bloomberg to my show, and to all the shows, including Oscar’s.”
A spokeswoman for de la Renta confirmed that, although an invitation has not been mailed out, the designer would definitely make room at his Wednesday show if the mayor wants to attend.
“Mr. de la Renta said that he and Michael Bloomberg are very old friends and Mayor Bloomberg always has an invitation to his show,” she said. “He knows that he has always been welcome.”
Jeremy Scott, who was also in attendance, said the mayor also would be welcome at his show, which closes out Fashion Week on Friday. He was interested in offering the mayor more than just a good seat, though.
“I really like the fact that he’s rich,” he said. “I’m always looking for backers. Maybe, he’ll back my next show.”
Scott admitted that he’s only recently become a Bloomberg fan.
When he was first invited to participate in the ribbon cutting, he admitted he didn’t know Bloomberg had taken office last month.
“I was [thinking], ‘Great, I’ll get to meet Giuliani,”‘ he said. “My mother told me they’d changed.”
Although Scott could have met former mayor Rudolph Giuliani at past fashion weeks — he was a regular at Nicole Miller shows — that firm’s chief executive officer, Bud Konheim, said he wasn’t expecting to see Giuliani at Miller’s Tuesday show. The former mayor has a more pressing engagement — he’s traveling to England to be knighted by Queen Elizabeth II.
It’s not clear if Bloomberg was serious about wanting to attend the shows, but he didn’t make it to Hilfiger’s. A spokeswoman could not confirm whether the mayor plans to attend other shows, but said that he would consider all invitations he received.
Also joining the festivities were Michael Kors, Nicole Miller, Betsey Johnson, Nick Graham, Carolina Herrera and Zang Toi, as well as New York Giants’ Jason Sehorn.
Bloomberg also read an official proclamation declaring Feb. 8 to 15 Fashion Week in New York, and cited the industry for contributing “billions of dollars” to the world economy.
Noting that last season’s Bryant Park events were canceled after the destruction of the World Trade Center, he said: “The best way we can honor those who were lost is to go forward.”
Designers also said they were impressed by the new mayor’s fashion sense — he arrived in a gray suit and bright blue tie.
“I was surprised he was wearing something light and colorful,” said Rafe Totengco, an accessories designer. “I was expecting he’d wear fashionista black. After all, it’s Fashion Week.”
Nicole Miller thought Bloomberg was wearing something “nondescript,” but Cynthia Steffe said she overheard the mayor was wearing Paul Stuart.
“Tommy Hilfiger asked him what he was wearing, and I heard him say Paul Stuart,” Steffe said. “I think. Or maybe it was Paul Smith, but probably not.”