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Fashion Diary: Technology meets Fashion Week

Gwen stefani lamb kxpawhnc
Gossip, first impressions, trends in the making, celebrities and style setters.

This is shaping up to be the season when the runway comes to you.

Hundreds of designers will present their fall collections during the monthlong runway circuit that kicked off Wednesday in New York and ends in mid-March in Paris with a stop in Milan along the way. And although the runway shows used to be exclusive events -- closed to all but select editors, store buyers and stylists  -- fashion houses increasingly are extending the reach of their blockbuster productions by using the Internet.

For several seasons now, fashion show attendees have been taking their own amateur video and photos and posting them online using Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. So it was only a matter of time before designers got on the bandwagon. Giorgio Armani, Ralph Lauren and Dolce & Gabbana are among those who have experimented with bringing their runway shows to the digital space.

Alexander McQueen, who was found dead in his home on Thursday, had taken things to a new level in October, not only webcasting his groundbreaking Paris show live but also using it as a platform to introduce a new song by Lady Gaga and a short film by fashion photographer Nick Knight. It was thrilling, and not only because of the now-infamous lobster claw shoes on models’ feet but also because it was a global entertainment event. This season in New York, Alexander Wang and Rodarte's Kate and Laura Mulleavy will try to make some McQueen-type magic of their own when they stream their shows live on Knight's Showstudio.com. Marc Jacobs, Perry Ellis, Tommy Hilfiger, Michael Kors and Calvin Klein are also among those who will webcast shows live on their websites.

Rodarte diary On Feb. 23, during London Fashion Week, Burberry is doing one better, webcasting its show live in 3-D (take that, James Cameron) at events to be held simultaneously in four cities. As models step out onto the runway at the Chelsea College of Art, invited guests at trendy venues in New York, Paris, Tokyo and Dubai will see all the action, including backstage prep and red-carpet arrivals. (Because of the time difference, an L.A. event will take place later. And those stuck at home will have to settle for 2-D at Burberry.com.)

Will it feel like the real deal? Maybe, and if it does, it could become the new standard for fashion show webcasts.

The only thing left to figure out will be how to monetize the shows instantly. Why not host simultaneous viewing parties at designer boutiques? They could all have their own stylish 3-D glasses and compete for the equivalent of box office draw.

Until then, the Burberry event is just one of many things to keep an eye on this season.

In New York, Reed Krakoff, creative director of the Coach accessories brand, will try his hand at luxury apparel, showing his first collection of clothing on the runway under his own name. Another hotly anticipated debut is London designer Marios Schwab's collection for revived 1970s label Halston. Although Sarah Jessica Parker, newly appointed creative director of the contemporary label Halston Heritage, is not involved with Schwab's collection, one would expect her to make an appearance.

Speaking of celebrity designers, Gwen Stefani and Victoria Beckham are returning to Fashion Week to host presentations of their lines, and the Olsen twins are taking the Row to the runway for the first time. Then there are the Kardashians -- Kim, Khloe and Kourtney -- who are showing their first runway collection for contemporary women’s retailer Bebe.

When it comes to the front row, the cast of “Jersey Shore” is sure to turn up in all its fake ’n' bake glory, perhaps at the Herve Leger show (those girls never met a tight skirt they didn't love), Bebe or William Rast, Justin Timberlake's clothing label. And they won't be alone. With MTV's “Shore,” “Kell on Earth,” “The Rachel Zoe Project,” “The City,” “The Robert Verdi Show” and “Keeping Up With the Kardashians,” there could be a serious clash of reality TV casts. (Come to think of it, that sounds like a pretty great TV show.)

At London Fashion Week, which begins Feb. 19, it's not just Burberry that will be joining the digital runway revolution. All designers showing at the official Somerset House venue will be able to live-stream their shows at www.londonfashionweek.co.uk/digitalschedule.com.

In Milan, it could be a diva-off if Madonna, star of the Dolce & Gabbana spring advertising campaign, shows up to support her favorite designer, and Lady Gaga, who recently wore Giorgio Armani throughout the Grammy Awards, turns out to support hers. (Is the city big enough for both of them?)

Jeweler Bulgari will tip a glass of Prosecco to its new face, Julianne Moore, while Salvatore Ferragamo toasts Old Hollywood at the opening of the exhibit “Greta Garbo: The Mystery of Style.”

In Paris, industry watchers are excited about Phoebe Philo's second runway collection for Celine (her spring outing put a chic, feminine spin on the military trend) and wondering whether Lindsay Lohan will dare take a bow after the Ungaro show again. (After a dreadful debut last season that involved heart-shaped pasties, the starlet is still, inexplicably, artistic advisor for the brand.)

And how will Karl Lagerfeld ever top last season’s Chanel barnburner and live performance by Lily Allen?

For true showmanship, McQueen may never be topped. Unfortunately, we’ll never know to what new heights his imagination could have taken us.

-- Booth Moore

Photo (top): Designer Gwen Stefani is flanked by models at the L.A.M.B. fall fashion presentation last week in New York. Credit: Andrew H. Walker / Getty Images

Photo (bottom): Kate, left, and Laura Mulleavy will have a show in New York. Credit: Autumn de Wilde

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Top photo: Designer Gwen Stefani is flanked by models at the L.A.M.B. fall fashion presentation last week in New York. Credit: Andrew H. Walker / Getty Images. Bottom photo: Kate, left, and Laura Mulleavy will have a show in New York. Credit: Autumn de Wilde

 
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