The hundreds of images coming from New York Fashion Week highlight the glamorous and orderly nature of the shows. Willowy models glide down snow white runways at Lincoln Center in front of celebrities, fashion editors, and buyers.
But the scene before and after the shows is anything but serene.
The lobby outside the tents at Lincoln Center is a gnarl of editors rushing to their next show, bloggers sitting on the floor, and interlopers who want to be a part of the scene. It’s a logjam of hair and heels.
Changes are afoot to make Lincoln Center less like Grand Central during Fashion Week (it opened Thursday) and offer designers more flexibility. But is it too late? Many Lincoln Center regulars have already defected. Diane von Furstenberg has opted out this season, as have Michael Kors and Tracy Reese. They’re following the lead of Vera Wang.
“The whole atmosphere outside the shows with cars on display and people running around just felt like it was taking some of the refinement away from showing beautiful clothes,” said designer Dennis Basso, who says he will continue to show at Lincoln Center.
Reese said she moved her show to Chelsea so she could tailor a space to her needs. Traditionally the spaces at Lincoln Center are stark templates; designers affix their names on the back wall and little else.
“We thought carefully about the space and seating when we selected this venue,” Reese said. “It’s important to focus on how to create the best show possible for buyers, editors, and our customers alike.”
IMG, which produces the Lincoln Center shows, announced last year that it was making changes. They’ve added a flexible presentation space called the Hub at Hudson, a new venue at Lincoln Center called the Pavilion, and stricter lobby security.
For years, many of the top shows have taken place outside of the Fashion Week tents at Lincoln Center and before that Bryant Park. Heavy hitters such as Marc Jacobs, Jason Wu, Rodarte, and Oscar de la Renta show all over the city. This year, Alexander Wang is jumping to Brooklyn.
“As seasons go on, it seems like it’s becoming more common,” said designer Rebecca Taylor, who left the tents several seasons ago. “What I love about showing off-site is having a direct hand in ensuring your space will align with the feel of the collection.”
Some of the changes to Fashion Week are being driven by social media which has broadened its reach and, in many ways, democratized it. In recent years, fashion bloggers, stylists, and tweeting fans have joined the crush of Fashion Week followers.
Basso, for his part, thinks the problems at Lincoln Center can be remedied.
“I think the designers are going to rethink this and regroup,” he said. “There are so many advantages to Lincoln Center.”Christopher Muther can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @Chris_Muther