NY Fashion Week To Trim Down

Susan Scafidi on NY1, February 08, 2009

Media Source

New York Fashion Week is just days away, but this season may see a minimalist trend as some designers scale back due to the economy. NY1's Jill Scott filed the following report.

The tents are going up and that means Fashion Week will soon begin. But under the big top this year, it may not be the same old circus.

"The fashion industry has been stripped naked by this economy and they really have to build back up from the foundations. That is happening with Fashion Week as well. But things have gotten so overblown, so Baroque, so extreme, that its probably a good corrective. The silver lining is Fashion Week can become intimate again, Fashion Week can become about fashion and not about celebrities and spectacle," said Fordham Law School Professor Susan Scafidi.

Experts say this season designers are not just creating clothes, but smarter and more frugal business plans. A show at the tents can run from tens of thousands to well over $1 million. Many designers like Carmen Marc Valvo, for example, are forgoing the big production in the tents and looking for a more intimate showcase.

"It just didn't seem like this season a huge ostentatious presentation was the way to go for the time we are presently living in. So I wanted something a little bit more humane, a little bit more humbler and something different," said Valvo.

Valvo will hold his event at the club Citrine. Unlike years past where he has had to pay for the venue, the makeup, the hair -- this time those companies have partnered with him as sponsors, saving him a bundle.

Other big names like Vera Wang, Betsey Johnson and Monique Lhuillier are also scaling back, moving out of the tents to various showrooms.

With some of the big designers moving offsite, that has created an opportunity for some fresh talent to get their big break since they can now get the good venues and the better time slots.

"These times are very favorable for smart young designers and new talent because when things get get tossed up in the air like this, it's absolutely the right moment for people to look for something exciting and new," said Fern Mallis, Senior Vice President, IMG Fashion Week.

Whoever is showing, the tents are sure to be full. The question is who will be there. Some stores and media outlets are sending fewer representatives, so designers are scaling back on the guest lists.

Fewer people at the shows doesn't necessarily mean a smaller audience. Many, like Valvo, are posting videos on the web, taking New York Fashion Week to the masses.

What's yet to be seen is what will come down the runways. Will designers play it safe, will clothes be less seasonable, more versatile? Who knows.

One thing's for sure, the over-the-top expensive and extravagant productions are so last season.