Recession on the Runway
Designers skipping the Fashion Week tents
She’s been showing in Bryant Park for 5 years, he’s been there for 10. But this year, Betsey Johnson and Carmen Marc Valvo are both opting out of the tents at Fashion Week.
Johnson won’t comment on why, but it’s a good guess that it has something to do with the fact that a tent show at Bryant Park typically runs anywhere from $150,000 to $200,000, according to Valvo’s peeps. That’s no small chunk of change! Designers could host a more intimate gathering and save more than 50% on costs, and that’s what many seem to be looking for this year, including Vera Wang, J. Mendel and even DKNY.
DKNY is spreading rumors of a stage presentation, rather than the traditional runway walk, and others are looking to small cocktail parties to showcase their collections.
Fashion Week usually means Bryant Park and the surrounding areas are turned in to a wonderland – women wear ridiculous “outfits” (if you can call them that), celebs flock to the runways in absolute droves, there is more liquor consumed (and spilled) than you can possibly imagine. The whole event is an exercise in consumerism – at its best dressed, of course.
So, perhaps it’s a bit of a good thing that the recession has take a bit out of the big top atmosphere of Fashion Week. This Betty is thrilled that the younger, smaller designers might get a bit more attention this year thanks to the relative lack of flash from the big stages. Maybe the recession will spur a return of the spotlight to up and coming designers, those who are working in sustainable materials, those who are working in materials that are recession proof, that actually are good for the earth – and good for the people who wear them. Or maybe we’ll just find the next avante garde virtuoso who can spin silk from her fingertips. Either way, a scaled back week under the tents might not be all bad.