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Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week: Ta-ta tents, hello Lincoln Center

Rendering of the new site for Mercedes-Benz Fashion

Rendering of the new site for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week at Lincoln Center's Damrosch Park. Photo Credit: Handout

IMG, the company that produces and runs New York’s eight-day Fashion Week extravaganza, today unveiled its brave new plans for Fashion Week’s big move to Lincoln Center after 17- years at the Tents in Bryant Park.  The new facilities in Damrosch Park on the Lincoln Center Campus promise to be bigger and better.

In a statement, Peter Levy, senior vice president and managing director of IMG Fashion Worldwide said, “The move has allowed IMG to reinvent and improve so many aspect of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week as well as develop a stronger link to the surrounding facilities and spaces available at Lincoln Center.”

So what does it all mean?  Notably, the physical structure of Fashion Week will change, and to some extent the Tents were limiting.  There will be four venues rather than three in which designers can strut their stuff.  The largest is The Theatre, which accommodates 969 show attendees and boasts a black carpet, a runway that can be straight or U-shaped, and a video wall.  Some 750-fashion folks can fit into The Stage, which has a red carpet, and the Studio, which is grey, can accommodate 340 guests.  New and noteworthy is The Box (aptly named, it’s about 50 by 50 square feet), which is a small presentation space where designers can shoot their seasonal looks or present their fashions informally.  There’s also an area dubbed The Courtyard – and as it sounds, features glass and trees and can also be used as an informal presentation space.   And, hallelujah, there will be restaurants and cafes, streamlined registration systems, and perhaps some other places within the campus for parties and hanging out. 

There are personnel changes as well.  Fern Mallis, IMG fashion senior vice president and Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week spokeswoman, who , since its start in 1993, has widely been known as the face of Fashion Week, announced her resignation earlier this week.  She will be starting her own consulting firm, Fern Mallis LLC. IMG will reportedly be one of her first clients.

Fashion Week is a big deal,  not only to designers and the media, but also to the economy of New York City, accounting for more than $466 million in direct visitor spending and drawing an estimated 232,000 attendees.

Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week at Lincoln Center runs from September 9 -16.  It will bode well for the new digs if a large number of designers choose to show there. But even with its iconic status, hundreds of designers opted to show outside of Bryant Park.  And, there is some industry distress over the fact that the move takes the fashion happening away from the City’s heart of fashion on Seventh Avenue. We’ll wait-and-see. 

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