Fashion Week readies for last hoorah at Bryant Park

Wherever fashion goes in New York City, fashionistas are sure to follow.

With the start of Fashion Week tomorrow, organizers are easing the style community out of the familiarity of Bryant Park's tents, which has been the official home of the twice yearly event since 1993, and into Lincoln Center’s Damrosch Park, which will become Fashion Week headquarters in September.

Growing tired of the frenzy around the tents as well as the space Fashion Week took up, the Bryant Park Corp. decided last year to stop hosting the lavish spectacle after this season.

So it’s no surprise that bits of nostalgia will mark the upcoming batch of shows, with designers’ memories splashed all over promotional materials.

Bryant Park’s proximity to the Garment District made it ideal for designers who are based there — and for keeping the headquarters of New York fashion alive, some said.

“My fashion shows are a celebration of the Garment Center,” said designer Nanette Lepore, a leader of the Save the Garment Center movement. “I hope to create new memories uptown at Lincoln Center ..., but will always cherish the family spirit of Bryant Park.”

Once the move is made, massive white tents will also host fashion shows at Damrosch Park. The cost of renting out a tent for a show — $28,000 to $50,000 — is not expected to change significantly, said Fern Mallis, senior vice president of IMG Fashion, which organizes the shows.

“It’s like when Bergdorf Goodman or Saks redesigns their floors,” Mallis said. “People don’t know where to make a right or a left, and they get testy about that, but people are still going to come.”

A change in locations seems less significant this year because last season the fashion world embraced a new alternative venue — MAC & Milk in Chelsea.

While non-Bryant Park venues (The Altman Building, The Armory, Gotham Hall) have always been preferred by some designers, MAC & Milk at the eight-floor Milk Studios took it to a new level, housing 26 shows and presentations last season, and hosting an impressive 34-designer roster this season (Band of Outsiders, Peter Som, L.A.M.B. and Jeremy Scott, to name a few).

“People in the fashion industry are addicted to change; they’re the short of people who like it a whole lot more than other people,” said Nicole Phelps, executive editor of Style.com.

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