Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week New York: One of the world’s greatest fashion weeks
Mercedes-Benz has been title sponsor of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week New York since 2001. One of the world’s largest fashion weeks attracts internationally renowned designers as well as buyers, journalists and celebrities. Along with those in Paris and Milan, the New York shows establish the direction of international fashion. Top designers such as Michael Kors and Marc Jacobs made their fame in the tents of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week New York in Manhattan’s Bryant Park.
Top American and international designers present their latest fashions twice a year – the fall/winter collections in February and the spring/summer collections in September – over seven days in close to 70 shows. Among the leading labels are Max Azaria, Diesel, Perry Ellis, Heatherette, Carolina Herrera, Tommy Hilfiger, Betsy Johnson, Donna Karan, Michael Kors, Lacoste, Ralph Lauren, London, Joanna Mastroianni, Miss Sixty, Nautica, Zac Posen and Vera Wang.
Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week New York is more than an international meeting place for top designers. Over the years, it has become one of the world’s leading celebrity hangouts. No other fashion event attracts more stars looking for things to wear to the next gala, Oscar night or wedding. Some even come in search of inspiration for their own collections. Regularly occupying ringside seats are the likes of Paris Hilton, Victoria Beckham, Sheryl Crow, Mischa Barton, Demi Moore, Eva Longoria and Hilary Swank. Several celebrities have also presented their own fashion lines here, including singer Gwen Stefani (L.A.M.B.), Jennifer Lopez (JustSweet) and Rapper Puff Daddy (Sean John).
A long tradition
Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week New York looks back on a long tradition. Begun in 1943 as Press Week, it was the world’s first organised fashion week. The aim was to give American fashion designers an independent platform on which to present their collections away from the French fashion industry’s prevailing influence. By the late 50s, Press Week had established the careers of Bill Blass, Oscar de la Renta, Mollie Parnis and Pauline Trigere.
In the 70s and 80s, American designers began to organise their own fashion shows to present their collections to a larger audience. The loosely arranged events were held in various lofts, clubs and restaurants around the city. Those that took place in abandoned lofts, however, were repeatedly subject to mishaps and accidents. In one case in Chelsea in the early 90s, plaster began to fall from the ceiling. At another show in Soho, the electrical generator suddenly malfunctioned, leaving the audience to sit in complete darkness for 30 minutes.
On the initiative of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA), New York’s fashion shows were reorganised and brought together at a less perilous location; first in a hotel, and since 1993, in the tents in Bryant Park in the heart of Manhattan. The high-quality tent structures can accommodate up four runways of varying size. According to brand image, some designers alternatively present their collections at off-site locations.
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