c.2015 New York Times News Service
c.2015 New York Times News Service
NEW YORK — This fall, the leaves will change, the days will grow short and Fashion Week, that autumn perennial, will head downtown.
WME-IMG, the company that owns and produces Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York, is jettisoning Lincoln Center, its main (though not altogether beloved) site of the last four years, and searching for greener pastures farther south.
Mercedes-Benz, the event’s title sponsor since 2007, will bow out following the fall 2015 shows at Lincoln Center in February.
The event will be re-christened as simply New York Fashion Week. This week, WME-IMG appointed Simon Collins, until this year the dean of the School of Fashion at Parsons the New School for Design, as a consultant to help steer the new event.
“A crucial part of evolving our global fashion offering is partnering with the best and the brightest, and Simon Collins is that rare breed,” Mark Shapiro, IMG’s chief content officer, said.
New York Fashion Week will, for the first time, unify the city’s two major (but formerly at odds) show organizers under one umbrella: IMG, which produced the large-scale shows at Lincoln Center, and the fledgling, emerging-designer platform formerly known as Made Fashion Week, which has been headquartered at Milk Studios in the meatpacking district.
WME-IMG is in final negotiations to purchase Made from its three founders, Keith Baptista, Jenné Lombardo and Mazdack Rassi, a representative for IMG said. WME-IMG approached the partners, who are to stay on as consultants and continue to operate the event.
Made Fashion Week, founded in 2009 as MAC & Milk (after the original sponsoring makeup company and the location, of which Rassi is a founder), hosted shows by Proenza Schouler, Altuzarra and Public School as it rose to prominence. In February, the Made roster will include labels like Jeremy Scott, Tim Coppens and Cushnie et Ochs.
Made’s major innovation was to offer designers free space, production and makeup — costs that could otherwise rise into the five figures, a heavy lift for young labels. IMG also offset show costs with sponsorships, but charged for its spaces and show packages.
How these models will coexist under the new Fashion Week umbrella is still to be fully determined, though it is understood that Made’s fee structure, identity and even its name will continue under its new ownership. Citing continuing negotiations, the Made partners declined to comment.
Still to be determined, too, is where the new sites will be. Both Made Fashion Week and Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week have several, though each has a major hub: Milk Studios and Lincoln Center, respectively. Milk Studios will continue to host Made-affiliated shows as part of the new New York Fashion Week.
WME-IMG recently agreed to vacate Lincoln Center after the February shows, following a lawsuit filed by New York City park and environmental activists to restore Damrosch Park, the site of the Lincoln Center Fashion Week tents, to community use. (The suit was settled in December.)
Though the move threatens to shift Fashion Week’s center of gravity downtown, many designers and labels opt to show independently of either WME-IMG or Made, to follow their own inclinations. Each season, the borders of the Fashion Week diaspora inevitably expand, forcing a particularly querulous band of travelers to traverse SoHo, Chelsea, Midtown, the Upper East Side, the financial district and — a revelation received last February with hand-wringing and outcry — Brooklyn.
Though IMG-WME is keeping mum on the location, other than to suggest its new home will be “downtown,” it seems safe to say that last year’s outcry won’t be repeated. A tree may grow in Brooklyn, but it’s probably too soon for its fashion week to blossom there.