NEW YORK — “This season has been the toughest one ever,” said Ruth Finley, who, as publisher of the Fashion Calendar, coordinates the show schedules for the New York collections.

It’s by far the busiest show week in Finley’s 40 years since starting the Fashion Calendar to handle the scheduling.

“It started because the retail stores in New York like Saks and Bergdorf’s were complaining about conflicts with their show times, and I saw a need for someone to coordinate the times,” Finley said. “I’ve seen it grow nationally and internationally, and it’s never boring. There’s always something going on, and I’m the one they all come to get on the schedule.”

Ninety firms have either formal shows or informal showings on the eight-day fall fashion week schedule this season, compared with 65 last season, Finley said. She counts 18 designers showing for the first time.

“It’s been very difficult getting it all set up,” Finley said. “There’s been a lot of going back and forth, especially a lot of young designers that decided at the last minute that they needed to have a show.”

For the first time, fashion week is eight days, running Wednesday to Wednesday, which Finley said has opened up additional space on the weekend. Last season, Sunday was added to the schedule. This season, Saturday is being added, as well.

Some small firms are having shows or informal modeling sessions on Saturday. They include Marc Jacobs, Sylvia Heisel, Neil Bieff, J. Morgan Puett, Milu, Abraxas, Frank Fleming and Nahayo & Cutupu.

“I think the Bryant Park shows have created a lot of interest in doing shows,” Finley said. “It also shows that the economy is improving, and people are optimistic that the money they are spending to put on a show will lead to extra business.”

Meanwhile, Finley is already starting to work on next season’s schedule. The eight-day and weekend formats are continuing, with the shows set to start on Saturday, Oct. 19, and run through Saturday, Nov. 5.

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