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New York Fashion Week: Come one, come all

Nyfashionweek

Step right up, fashion's biannual show has begun and everyone is invited.

New York Fashion Week, which runs through Sept. 15, will feature hundreds of designers showing their spring-summer 2012 collections at Lincoln Center and other venues throughout the city, and cameos from a wide range of characters, from Kylie Jenner to Rico the Zombie to Zoe Saldana.

Brands are looking for new and different ways to get the attention of fashion's elite, while also talking directly to consumers who have been drawn into the once insular fashion week in recent years through live-streaming runway show videos, up-to-the-minute Tweets and the Vogue-sponsored Fashion's Night Out, a global smorgasbord of celebrity and designer-hosted shopping events on Thursday that are open to the public. (My NYC faves? Samuel L. Jackson and Angela Bassett at Armani, Daniel Radcliffe at Jeffrey New York, Tilda Swinton at Saks and Miss Piggy at Opening Ceremony!)  

Nicola Formichetti, the stylist-editor whose canvas is Lady Gaga, and a designer in his own right at the helm of the newly revived Thierry Mugler brand, is opening Nicola's, a pop-up shop in SoHo built to look like a mirrored prism, where he will sell limited-edition pieces from his collaborations with Mugler, Uniqlo and Haus of Gaga. He's also partnered with video game producer CCP Games on a "virtual catwalk show" featuring tout-tattooed model Rico the Zombie in clothes that users will be able to purchase for their characters to wear in the popular Eve Online video game. (It's gotta be cheaper than a real-world Mugler.)

Fashion bloggers Bryan Boy, Susie Bubbles and Pelayo Diaz will be curating a fashion show for the every-model, to be shown on Coca Cola's six-story Times Square billboard on Sept. 15. The Diet Coke-sponsored project will showcase street-style looks chosen by the bloggers from submissions posted on Facebook (facebook.com/dietcoke), as well as photos they shoot on Fashion's Night Out.

Catherine Malandrino is having a ready-to-buy fashion show, meaning that all the looks shown on the runway will be available to purchase on the spot, and Vivienne Tam is launching a new line of yoga wear with a "live sculpture garden" at Lincoln Center made up of 20 female yogis. (No doubt, the commuter crowd will be encouraged to join in.)

Meanwhile, celebrities aren't merely sitting on the sidelines anymore. Rather than lending their cachet to designers by sitting in the front row of a fashion show, they are commanding fees to appear at Fashion's Night Out events where they can interact with fans. Other celebrities are using Fashion Week as a platform to promote their personal brands. Kylie Jenner (next in the line of ka-ching Kardashians) will be modeling in Avril Lavigne's Abbey Dawn runway show. Victoria Beckham, Rachel Zoe, Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen, Gwen Stefani and Daisy Fuentes will also show their fashion collections, but sans Kardashians. 

And Zoe Saldana is positioning herself as a different kind of fashion mogul. She and co-founder Keith Britton will be toasting their online venture My Fashion Database (myfdb.com), which seems to want to be the imdb.com of the fashion industry, with the added feature of shopping. (Users can browse ad campaigns of their favorite brands, for example, and shop the looks.)

Off the official schedule, fashion is seeping into pop culture. Vanity Fair is hosting the "Fashion in Film" series at the Museum of Arts and Design; the Bard Graduate Center is opening an exhibition of hats curated by milliner Stephen Jones; and the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising will be previewing a show exploring heiress Daphne Guinness' eclectic style.

Throughout the week, there are fashion shows to celebrate military veteran and Korean, Argentine, African and eco-friendly designers. And somewhere in between, presumably we'll all stop and remember the 10th anniversary of sept. 11, which falls smack in the middle of NYFW, just as it did then, when I was sent off reporting a very different story.

And for those who just can't fathom seeing, much less buying, fashion in these bleak economic times, Ventura, Calif.-based Patagonia and EBay have chosen the occasion of New York Fashion Week to announce the Common Threads Initiative, which challenges people not to consume. 

“The Common Threads Initiative addresses a significant part of today’s environmental problem -- the footprint of our stuff,” Yvon Chouinard, founder of the famously eco-conscious Patagonia outdoor clothing brand, said in a statement. “This program first asks customers to not buy something if they don’t need it. If they do need it, we ask that they buy what will last a long time -- and to repair what breaks, reuse or resell whatever they don’t wear any more. And, finally, recycle whatever’s truly worn out."

List a used Patagonia product on EBay and you will be asked to take a pledge and become a Common Threads Initiative partner. Then your listing will be eligible for inclusion in the Common Threads Initiative storefront on EBay and on Patagonia.com. Patagonia will not receive any of the profits associated with the storefront. 

Think of it as fashion for the Goodwill generation.

RELATED:

Fashion's Night Out 2011: Finding fun far afield

Paris Fashion Week: At Mugler, Lady Gaga steals the show 

-- Booth Moore

Photo: Models pose at the Wes Gordon Spring 2012 presentation during Mercedes Benz Fashion Week at The Hosfelt Gallery on September 8, 2011 in New York City. Credit: Cindy Ord /Getty Images.

 
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