Some consider it one of NYC’s most glamorous events. Others call it hell week.
For designers, buyers and the fashion media — not to mention celebrities, influencers and other lucky invited guests — New York Fashion Week is an eight-day (and then some) marathon of morning-to-evening runway shows, launches and after-parties. (The one major luxury: sleep.)
This time around, the twice-yearly sprint officially begins on Sept. 8 as major American designers preview their looks for next spring/summer.
When is New York Fashion Week?
New York Fashion Week Fall 2017 starts unofficially Feb. 4 -- but that show involves serious travel. Rebecca Minkoff, one of the pioneers of the "see now, buy now movement," will show her immediately shoppable lineup at The Grove, an upscale shopping center in Los Angeles. Also moving way west, Tommy Hilfiger, whose Feb. 8 show in Venice Beach will celebrate the "California beach life style." Expect a music festival atmosphere and his second collaboration with model Gigi Hadid. The official season begins on Thursday, Feb. 9, with more than 125 runway shows and presentations on the calendar and easily 100 more related events.
Opening day starts with labels such as Nicholas K, Desigual and Thakoon; that night, Katie Holmes hosts and celebrities (trans teen Jazz Jennings, actress Lynn Whitfield, "Fight Song" singer Rachel Platten, Olympic gymnast Laurie Hernandez) take to the runway in the American Heart Association's Red Dress Collection. On Friday morning, all eyes will be on Calvin Klein, where Raf Simmons, formerly of Dior, presents his first collection for the label. Weekend hot tickets include Alexander Wang, Prabal Gurung, Victoria Beckham and Joseph Altuzarra. Monday, buzzy Monse designers Laura Kim and Fernando Garcia take on the Oscar de la Renta line, then the biggest names -- Michael Kors, Ralph Lauren, Marc Jacobs -- close things down on Feb. Feb. 14, 15 and 16.
Visit fashionweekonline.com for a full lineup.
Where is New York Fashion Week held?
The short answer: All over. Many shows take place at downtown at Skylight studios at Clarkson Square. Last season's midtown venue --Skylight at Moynihan Station -- has been abandoned due to ongoing construction. But many designers have always marched to their own drums, so you'll also find shows popping up elsewhere around town, from the sunny, modern spaces at TriBeCa's Spring Studios (Michael Kors, Zac Posen, J. Crew, Lacoste have shown there in past seasons) to restaurants like the Russian Tea Room (Kate Spade) and the hot French restaurant Le Coucou, where Cinq a Sept will show (profiteroles, perhaps?). For even more elegant surroundings, Jason Wu shows at the St. Regis late afternoon on Friday and Christian Siriano will be at the Plaza Hotel Saturday afternoon.
What do people wear to Fashion Week?
You heard that orange is the new black? Not at Fashion Week. Despite what's on the runway, the fashion flock -- well, the grunts who really work it (yeah, us) -- tend to stick to a basic black uniform. But there are peacocks in the bunch who turn out in wacky and wonderful clothes along with the fashion aristocracy like Anna Wintour, the true queen bee of Fashion Week, who we've rarely seen in black (or, for that matter, in the same designer outfit).
As for shoes, fashion editors from the big magazines do love their Louboutin and Manolo stilettos, but they travel by town car and inky-black Escalades. As for the rest of us, walk around the block and you'll likely see someone changing into sneakers and stashing those heels in her oversized bag -- another Fashion Week requisite.
How do I get tickets to New York Fashion Week?
Officially, you can't. It's invite-only, though there are exceptions. The week is essentially one uber-glam business convention, where the audience is a mix of media types, buyers from stores across the country and a smattering of socialites. Or at least that's how it began; in the last decade or so it's become fertile ground for photo-ops and brand marketing, and so designers are reserving more and more coveted front-row seats for Hollywood stars-of-the-moment, social media hotshots, essentially anyone and everyone the paparazzi drools over.
If you happen to be one of Club Monaco's very best clients, you might score an invite to the brand's "see now, buy now" runway show -- and yay, you're invited to shop right afterward. Otherwise, forget about schmoozing your way in. Security guards have told us they've heard every story in the book. Invitations have computerized bar codes and, at some of more important shows, public relations staffers, armed with headsets and iPads, compare your face to images they have on digital seating charts. That said, diehards can enjoy the party (or is it more circus?) atmosphere outside on the street by the main venues.
So dress the part and hang around the entrance. You'll get a great view of the comings and goings of the guests, the models and -- providing there's no secret back entrance -- celebrities. Or skip the schlepping and just check out your favorite designer's website (many live-stream their shows) or tune into NYFW's live broadcast at nyfw.com/live.
Speaking of celebrities ...
You never know who's going to turn up. One year at Vera Wang it was Beyoncé, Serena Williams and Kim Kardashian on one side of the runway, and former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright on the other (turns out Mad and Vera are buds). We've met up with Ashanti at BCBG, Ciara at Public School, Kelly Osbourne at Anna Sui and Kanye West at Ralph Lauren (he says Ralph is his idol -- who knew?). A season after, the redheads ruled Lauren's front row when Julianne Moore and Jessica Chastain drew plenty of fiery flashes from the paparazzi. And sports stars are increasingly in the mix -- Henrik Lundqvist, Dwyane Wade, Russell Westbrook and Victor Cruz are not afraid to flaunt their stylish side. This season, the question is whether any Trump women will show up... we're thinking Tiffany might sneak in at Taoray Wang, the Shanghai native who designed the white coat she wore to the inauguration.
Stay in the loop
You want in on fashion week? Let us do the legwork. Check our daily coverage in the paper and online at newsday.com/fashionweek. Come along with us as we chat up celebs sitting front row or view first-hand the fabulous backstage storm -- and of course, the clothes. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram: @anniebrat, @joe_amodio and @Newsday.