New York Fashion Week may pose an attendance problem for Jewish showgoers this year. Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, begins at sundown on Sept. 9 and is observed through Sept. 11, depending on one’s beliefs.
New York Fashion Week officially runs from Sept. 6 through Sept. 12, although Tom Ford is kicking off the week on Sept. 5 at 8 p.m.
The Jewish holiday is in direct conflict with a host of several big name fashion shows. The evening of Sept. 9, when the holiday officially begins, will feature shows by Rodarte, Prabal Gurung, Opening Ceremony and LaQuan Smith. Diane von Furstenberg is hosting presentations by appointment throughout Sept. 9.
Among the designers showing on Sept. 10 are The Row, Carolina Herrera, Lela Rose, Dennis Basso, 3.1 Phillip Lim, Proenza Schouler and Anna Sui. Sept. 11’s lineup includes Oscar de la Renta, Gabriela Hearst, Tome, Coach 1941, Naeem Khan and Alice + Olivia, among others.
“I am stopping before sundown,” said Diane von Furstenberg, when reached for comment about her Sept. 9 plans.
Anna Sui, who is showing Sept. 10 at 7 p.m., said, “It’s unfortunate that fashion week falls over the Rosh Hashanah holiday, as it sometimes does. We respect the decision of some guests who may not be able to attend. We will host special market appointments in our new showroom to accommodate those affected.”
A spokeswoman for Tapestry, which owns Coach 1941, which is slated to show Sept. 11 at 2 p.m., said, “For those who have conflicts for any reason, our show will remain available on the web site. In addition, we’ll have our showroom open during the rest of that week in New York — as well as during fashion week in Paris — and would be happy to accommodate editors or retailers with private appointments.”
Alice + Olivia’s presentation will take place from 3 to 5 p.m. on Sept. 11. It had originally slated its show from 1 to 3 p.m. The earlier time slot may have been more difficult for showgoers who may be attending services in the morning.
The holidays could pose problems for not only retailers, editors and influencers who observe the holiday, but also employees who are working on the fashion shows.
Steven Kolb, president and chief executive officer of the CFDA, said, “We deal with Rosh Hashanah quite often during fashion week. It’s something, when scheduling, we’re astutely aware of and sensitive to when scheduling shows. Clearly, you have a very tight global fashion calendar — New York, London, Milan, Paris. The opportunity to shift dates is not possible.” He noted that every single designer who is showing during the holiday was made aware of it, and the CFDA spoke to them to make sure there was no conflict based on their religious beliefs and the need to not be working.
“From the very beginning of this schedule, we were focused on it, and communicating that and aware of it. In terms of guest experience, it is the nature of an unforgiving global calendar. We understand some people won’t be able to attend shows, and hope that those who don’t celebrate Rosh Hashanah can represent those companies or those businesses in their absences,” Kolb said.
In the past when the shows have conflicted with Rosh Hashanah, people have had to shift off that date, but he said this season it wasn’t an issue. “It’s just the nature of the calendar. Fortunately we’ve never been hit with Yom Kippur, which is an issue later in the month.”
The Jewish New Year begins the 10 days of penitence culminating in Yom Kippur, which starts on sundown of Sept. 18 and is observed through Sept. 19. That holiday occurs during Milan Fashion Week. Carlo Capasa, president of the Italian Chamber of Fashion, was unavailable for comment.