In Tents: N.Y. Fashion Week's new home fits like a glove
After months of wondering what the new home of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week would look and feel like, I got my first taste this morning on my way into the "Project Runway" season 8 finale show -- and color me impressed.
To refresh your memory, the biannual fashion frenzy, which had called Bryant Park in New York City's Garment District home since 1994, announced several seasons ago that it would be relocating to Damrosch Park at Lincoln Center for the spring/summer 2011 shows. With much hand-wringing -- and a good deal of reminiscing -- Tommy Hilfiger staged the final catwalk show at Bryant Park in February.
The new space feels tailor-made (pun only partially intended) for handling the ebb and flow of editors, buyers and (increasingly) bloggers and street scene shutterbugs. With the entrance off Lincoln Plaza, it affords a wide-open public space (complete with fountain) for folks to congregate -- which eliminates the Sixth Avenue style scrum that would inevitably form after each show.
A faux rock facade matching that of the other Lincoln Center buildings facing the plaza (and bearing the title sponsor's name, naturally) has been erected in front of the tents to give the whole enterprise a unified look.
The lobby just inside the door feels twice as large (and tall), with a sunken "bloggers' pit" smack in the middle of the room (perhaps a nod to the increased prominence of the blogging class at the shows), and windows streaming honest-to-goodness natural light into the space. Each sponsor seems to have a corner of the cavernous tent -- including Tresemmé, which has an elevated loft-like salon in which to perform its various and sundry follicular feats.
Unlike the former locale, the new layout, awash in gray and punctuated with a few tubes of blue neon light, feels designed to move people along and feels not unlike one of the nicer concourses at LAX.
Unlike the beloved but cramped Bryant Park tents, this feels like exactly like the classy, upscale venue that befits the city's fashion community.
It gives me hope that somehow, some day, some way all the gears will mesh and Los Angeles will have a platform for showcasing its fashion community that's executed as well.(A new group that plans to stage its first fashion shows in Los Angeles in February 2011 shows some serious promise in that department. Read fellow All The Rager Emili Vesilind's post about it here.)-- Adam Tschorn, reporting from New York
Photos: At top, the lobby of the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week's new home includes a sunken "blogger's pit" (at center left). At bottom, the faux-rock facade out front helps the temporary space blend in with the surrounding architecture of Lincoln Plaza. Credit: Adam Tschorn / Los Angeles Times.