How fashion week in New York has changed — from World War to the present


The 6th of September, the next Fashion Week marathon kicks off, which traditionally starts in New York. Among the “Big Four,” it has become a fashionable capital since 1998. Since Helmut Lang decided to show his collection in September, and not in November, as it was before — New York opens the fashion month twice a year. Below we presented the facts that show that the history of New York Fashion Week began much earlier.

Before France entered World War II, Paris was the epicenter of the fashion world — buyers and journalists flocked there to be the first to see new collections of the best couturiers. When Paris fell under the German invaders, the American fashion industry, it finally struck a high point. One of the founders of the New York Institute of Fashion — Eleanor Lambert, in 1943 came up with a unique event at that time — Press Week. This event was visited by not only the journalists from New York but also their colleagues from more remote corners of America. It was important that only representatives of the press had access to the event. To see new collections in the showroom, buyers had to ask designers for separate permission.

In 1945, another lady named Ruth Finley launched The Fashion Calendar — a resource that made sure that the timings of the shows of the participants did not overlap, but at the same time provided all the guests with a full schedule of shows. Because of the innovative ideas of Lambert, today the whole world knows who are Oscar de la Renta and Ralph Lauren, each season, designers come up with interesting and different places to display their collections.

In 1962, Lambert founded CFDA, the Council of Fashion Designers of America. The shows were getting better and grander. But in the early 1990s, there was a feeling that buyers and journalists were tired of New York Fashion Week. The apogee happened in 1991 when at one of the Michael Kors shows in the hall the ceiling collapsed — fragments of plastic and dust literally covered the heads of all guests. This incident forced the ex-chief of CFDA, Fern Mallis to take control of the Fashion Week. After moving to Bryant Park, Fashion Week gained serious prospects for commercial cooperation, and in the late 1990s, the event was renamed on Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week.

The very essence of Fashion Week in New York was a boom in street style culture and fashion bloggers. From now, everyone is closely watching not only what is happening on the catwalks, but also on the guests of the show. Nowadays, the main location of New York Fashion Week is considered to be the Spring Studios pavilion in the Tribeca area, but more and more designers are conducting their presentations and installations outside the official site.

Subscribe to our Newsletter!