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Fashion Week mania takes over NYC

Models present outfits during the Honor fashion show

Models present outfits during the Honor fashion show at the Mercedes Benz Fashion Week. (Getty Images) Credit: Models present outfits during the Honor fashion show at the Mercedes Benz Fashion Week. (Getty)

Everyone loves it when the fashion circus comes to town.

Over the next week, the city will be pumped with designers, models, exclusive parties and lots of money as Mercedes Benz Fashion Week takes over the Big Apple.

"Fashion Week is like a twice-annual Fall of Rome, but with marshmallows," said Ben Widdicombe, editor in chief of Giltcity.com, regarding the spectacle that began Wednesday and runs through Thursday.

"Everybody wins" when the fashionistas invade Gotham, said entertainment, fashion and music consultant Dan Scheffey.

Fashion Week has morphed from an industry event int0 a mass entertainment that cross-pollinates with the worlds of music, television and film, Scheffey added.

The 90-some shows at Lincoln Center and 250 in other locations draw about 100,000 visitors to the city, said Rosemary Feitelberg, the New York correspondent for Women's Wear Daily.

That tally includes celebrities, trend analysts, store buyers, financial analysts and about 4,000 members of the media from around the world, she said, who get tips on emerging companies, job-hopping executives and rising industry stars.

And while the models may not look like they eat much, the Economic Development Council says restaurants bring in an extra $9 million in business during Fashion Week.

"Beautiful people love New York's trendy restaurant scene," said Andrew Rigie, executive vice president of the NYC chapter of the New York State Restaurant Association.

For those left out of the invitation-only shows, an increasing number of them are streamed live online, Feitelberg noted.

For Widdicombe, fashion people are not only fun to watch ("Why go to the Bronx Zoo when it can come to you?"), but they also provide observers with endless opportunities for amusing commentary.

"The people most cluelessly in thrall to materialism are always the ones who take themselves most seriously," he said, "so that's always fun to mock."

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