NEW YORK — Several major New York designers are looking to move their shows from their historical perches on the Fashion Week calendar here and are now jockeying for earlier time slots — within the first three days of the collection presentations set for Sept. 18-23.
As a result of an agreement this season that allowed the London and New York shows to switch places chronologically on the international fashion calendar, made to avoid fashion shows in New York during the anniversary week of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the new dates for New York now start on a Wednesday. Typically, the major New York collections run from a Monday to Friday, with ancillary shows taking place the prior weekend, but the latest shuffle would mean big shows like Donna Karan, Calvin Klein and Ralph Lauren would be held on Saturday and Sunday.
However, those designers and several others are asking for time slots on a weekday, partly from concern that some editors or buyers will not be willing to work on weekends, or that they might be planning to head to Europe early to preview the Milan openings, also scheduled on Sept. 23.
“The bulk of people are requesting shows within the first three days, but that’s because we’ve only heard from one segment of the populace,” said Fern Mallis, vice president of IMG and executive director of 7th on Sixth, which produces Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in Bryant Park. “A lot of people are still going to show on the weekends.”
Seventh on Sixth, which was separated from the nonprofit Council of Fashion Designers of America last year, does not expect to finalize designer time slots within its venues until at least the week of June 24, she said. The organization expects to present its venue proposals to designers for the September shows this week, which could include moving one of its stages from the park tents into a space within the adjacent New York Public Library, such as the Celeste Bartos Forum, which has been used for shows in the past.
“We haven’t sent out our venue request forms yet, so it’s kind of unfair to discuss the time slots yet,” said Mallis, noting that some 7th on Sixth venues will be designated for shows at different hours than designers who want to use them might prefer. That could logically result in spreading the major shows throughout the week.
Also, Mallis does not believe there will be any serious resistance from buyers or press to attend shows on the weekend, considering the circumstances that led to the change of dates. She said, “We’re hoping people will be more sympathetic this season.”
The original show dates were also earlier in the summer, and some designers have praised the postponement, since it will allow more flexibility with their staffs in observing the Labor Day holiday.
That said, 7th on Sixth is exploring a few big designer events for the weekend and through Sept. 23 to encourage the fashion show audience to stay in town. While the organization would not divulge any details, sources said Mallis and the 7th on Sixth staff have approached designers, including some with a high-voltage press appeal, to confirm a show on the weekend. One is Miguel Adrover, who, as reported, is attempting to relaunch his business following its closure under the previous Leiber Group backing.
“We’re going to see if it’s possible,” Adrover said on Tuesday. “That depends on if we’re able to get backing.”
Adrover has set up a Manhattan studio to relaunch the business, but is also looking for new financial partners to help finance the collection.
“It’s like I’m working in the basement again,” he said. “I’m working very hard again, but at least I’m happy.””