Glossy’s daily New York Fashion Week briefing brings you on-the-ground insights and analysis from straight off the runway. Sign up for Glossy emails to see the daily recaps in your inbox.
The powers pulling the strings backstage this season at New York Fashion Week’s runway shows, presentations and parties are praying for a return to normalcy.
In some ways, it’s happening. Brands like Milly and Kate Spade that ditched the runway in favor of presentations or private appointments are back to showing their collections — the ones planned for next spring — on the catwalk. See-now-buy-now has all but faded into a temporary fad born out of an Instagram frenzy, save for a select few brands with the means to make it work. Designers that fled New York for Paris, like Proenza Schouler and Rodarte, have returned to their home turf.
But NYFW’s coordinators haven’t passively let designers decide its fate. This season, IMG launched “The Talks,” a series of panels with fashion figures discussing the industry’s current and future states. It was also the third season for The Experience, which offers tickets to the public for purchase, giving consumers access to shows, designer meet-and-greets and other backstage perks.
“The idea is that it’s a bit of a home base and that New York Fashion Week becomes more of an interactive industry event than a means to an end,” said an IMG rep at Spring Studios on Thursday.
Incorporating a more consumer-facing element to the shows is a smart way to push NYFW along its inevitable evolution from an industry necessity to a marketing play. For his part, CFDA president Steven Kolb has maintained a measured mindset even as, from the outside, fashion week’s future is uncertain. His belief is that designers can come and go, and experiment with formats how they like, and that the CFDA will be there for them regardless.
“We support designers no matter how they present, and we list non-traditional collection previews on the fashion calendar,” Kolb said during a recent Glossy+ conversation. “Fashion weeks are more fluid [today], with brands bouncing around.”
As this season of NYFW kicks off, it feels like the event is gaining strength by leaning into its spectacle, rather than getting lost in the fray.
“Fashion week will never go away. It’s just a continued evolution,” according to Kolb.
5 questions with… Mara Hoffman
What was the mood of this fashion week that you felt going into it?
I wanted to host a funeral, actually. That was the mood I was in, to be very specific about it. To let it go, to get rid of things we don’t want anymore, to release them and to make room for something new. Rebirth, newness, freshness and excitedness for the clothes we wear.
Your business underwent a serious overhaul recently to make the supply chain more sustainable. How do you incorporate that into something like this?
By just being really sincere and following the heart of the design and the inspiration, and then creating something compelling and inspired. You don’t need to justify the existence of thoughtful, well-made clothing.
Why did you choose to show the collection in a presentation format?
The presentation is a way to communicate in both movement and stillness. I wanted to tell a story through the set up.
And it’s the spring 2019 collection you’re showing?
I think we’re all back to showing ahead of time. [See-now-buy-now] was a blip. It’s just easier on production and it makes more sense for fashion, I think. I haven’t fully figured it out.
What’s the end goal?
I hope people walk away feeling like they experienced something that moved them and that they saw something beautiful. Back to basics.
“The conversation has been about the glass ceiling, the one seat at the table. We’re going to band together and get five seats, 10 seats. If we can work together to push forward, we can send the ladder down to help a lot more women climb up. We have to do more of that.” –Rebecca Minkoff discussing the launch of the Female Founder Collective, a group made to recognize companies launched and led by women
Tonight, Katie Holmes and Harper’s Bazaar editor-in-chief Glenda Bailey are hosting the opening of Saks’ It List Townhouse, a NYFW-adjacent pop-up from the retailer meant to showcase buyers’ top picks for the fall season. It’s a move that both capitalizes on fashion week’s foot traffic, and it pushes in-season purchases as NYFW attendees get in the shopping spirit.
Image from Rebecca Minkoff’s “I Am Many” campaign, launched at NYFW Spring 2019