There is currently a feud amongst fashion capitals regarding the next Fashion Week calendar dates. New York is set to overlap a couple of days with Milan this time. To avoid a showdown, the rounds of closed-door meetings are in effect to avert a fashion malfunction. Drama and fashion, who would ever think of it?
But really, when did New York Fashion Week actually come about? We know that Paris has been a fashion capital forever and is the archetype for collection line-ups. New York Fashion Week actually began during WWII, once transatlantic travel stopped and Paris closed shop when the Nazis entered the city. Not that Adolf Hitler should be credited, but this dark side of history forced the Americans to keep the fashion flame alive.
- New York Fashion Week, 1950s
The woman behind New York Fashion Week, the Coty Award, and the International Best Dressed List, is the great fashion publicist Eleanor Lambert who sprung into action in 1943 and started “Press Week.” From then on editors and buyers would check out and sample the local collections in Manhattan.
The following year, in 1944, Ruth Finley established the “Fashion Calendar,” the definitive guide to all shows and presentations, which helped organize times and locations. These two ladies helped transform New York, making it not only a consumer center for fashion, but also putting the manufcturing and design communities on the fashion map, so to speak.
Legend has it that as soon as the armistice was declared, Diana Vreeland, then editor at Harper’s Bazaar, asked for proof that Paris fashions had survived. A silk rose was sent and all went back to its original schedule… but New York’s presence remained in place…
More fashion week history to come…
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