New York Fashion Week – Fall 2013

As New York Fashion Week wrapped up this past Thursday, it’s time for a brief review of one of the industry’s biggest weeks of the year.

A brief history

NYFW began in 1943 when Nazi occupation in Paris caused the cancellation of fashion shows in the couture capital. Seeking to capture international attention that would normally have fixated on Paris, American fashion publicist Eleanor Lambert created NYFW’s precursor “Press Week” to showcase the work of American designers.

Eleanor Lambert new york fashion week fall 2013
Eleanor Lambert in 1963, about two decades after initiating Press Week.

Lambert’s plan worked, and important publications like Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue began featuring more American-designed clothing on their formerly French-dominated pages. Press Week continued for years, and more and more fashion shows began to be held everywhere from department stores to private lofts.

The popularity of these events led to overcrowded viewings in private spaces, however, and plaster falling from the ceiling at one show in the early ‘90s caused the Council of Fashion Designers of America to seek a safe and better-organized way to host fashion shows.

Alexander McQueen, 2012 new york fashion week
Alexander McQueen, 2012.

Finally, in 1994, Fashion Week in its modern, centralized manifestation was born. Today, the biannual NYFW (also known as Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week) generates a media maelstrom every fall and spring with its designer names, celebrity appearances, swanky after parties, and magnificent runway spectacles.

Notable this fall

Negativity about the alleged disintegration of fashion week into an over-hyped, stressful bore; the Jason Wu dress that showed up on every “best” list (except my own); a continued lack of racial diversity amongst models; and my personal favorite, Jimmy Kimmel’s “Lie Witness News” (below).

For more about the history of NYFW, check out this article or interactive timeline.

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