Randi Hernandez
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Fashion Hangover: So Long Bryant Park!

Bye Bye Bryant Park!

Bye Bye Bryant Park!

Now that Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Fall 2010 is well over, and the tents in Bryant Park have been torn down for the very last time, thinking about fashion now seems like such a downer. The exhilarating and often dizzying pace that accompanied the events of the week kept attendees intoxicated with glamour – and now that there is no more fashion jungle juice left, many are suffering from a full-blown fashion hangover. And it seems like the one and only type of hangover that can’t be cured by a cheeseburger.

In the Tents!

In the Tents!

I myself went to so many events, that I think I may have even blacked out a few times and totally missed some important moments during the shows. And then there were the unexpected hookups – specifically, when I snuck into the Tracy Reese show and also when I snatched an amazing gift bag from Betsey Johnson. I socialized with other bloggers and then immediately forgot their names. I show-hopped in search of adventure, and showed my press ID everyday to get in. I was drunk with delight as a result of all if the visual stimulants in my system. On the last day of Fashion Week, I began to feel inexplicably depressed, as if were the day after Christmas.

Au Revoir Fashion Week!

Au Revoir Fashion Week!

Many of the designers and fashion week show-goers shared this “letdown” sentiment. On the last day, guests seem to linger in the tents as long as possible, trying to hold onto their memories of Bryant Park before the final hurrah. Fashion Week will resume in September at Lincoln Center, and in a special collector’s edition on Valentine’s Day of the Daily Front Row titled “Au Revoir Bryant Park! Bonjour Lincoln Center!”, a writer rationalizes the move from Bryant Park after 17 years “because even the prettiest of teenagers sometimes need a bit of freshening up.”

Just in case you have never been to fashion week – or don’t know much about the shows or the Bryant Park location, here are some interesting history facts about the experience.

Tents FYI – Stuff you may not know about Fashion Week at Bryant Park

*The first tents erected in Bryant Park went up in 1993; they were fuchsia and bright blue.

*At the start of the tradition to have shows in the tents, “People were smoking everywhere, and they would put their cigarettes out on the floor. Editors were constantly getting stuck in freight elevators. Isaac had a show in Soho where the generators blew and people had to wait in the dark for a half an hour until they came back on.” – Fern Mallis

*In 1991, before the shows were in tents, the ceiling collapsed at a Michael Kors show

*In 1995, Isaac Mizrahi’s Unzipped was released – and this was a documentary about the making of his Fall 1994 collection.

*Fern Mallis threatened to move Fashion Week to New Jersey in order to persuade Mayor Dinkins to back the events during this week

*In the early years there were only three tents: named Josephine (it encompassed the Josephine Baker Fountain), Gertrude (because of a Gertrude Stein statue backstage), and Celeste (after the Celeste Bartos Forum inside the Library.

*In 1997, Fashion Week moved to Chelsea Piers for the first and only time.

*The tents were closed prematurely in 1999 when Hurricane Floyd hit the NYC area.

*2000 – The whole peta-protests-fur bit – PETA protestors stormed the runway and got pummeled with red paint and tofu.

*Fashion Week was canceled on the morning of Sept. 11th – for obvious reasons.

*And in 2002, London swapped fashion week dates with New York so that NYC shows would not collide with 9/11.

*There was a total of 2,509 shows held in Bryant Park.

Reactions to Fashion Week at Bryant Park vs. at the Lincoln Center

“I will probably miss the Bryant Park connection more than anybody. The fact that these shows inspired and developed young designers is so important.” – Stan Herman

(On the events being at Lincoln Center…”We’re going to accelerate some of the media distribution – live internet feeds, you name it. After a while you need to switch things up.” – Bill Marpet

“The fact that we’re changing venues, which affects the choices we make and how we show as designers, is phenomenal. Lincoln Center isn’t only about big; it can be about chic and intimate. There’s such as wide array of choice that we haven’t had.” – Vera Wang

“Really, my favorite part of Bryant Park is working with Fern [Mallis]. She has been so supportive over the years, and she and her team are always so excited, so driven, and so professional. Each season they helped me transform the space into my dream in under two hours. My favorite memory is taking my grandkiddos, Layla and Ella, down the runway with me.” – Betsey Johnson

“During the shows it’s difficult to enjoy the beauty of the park because of all the Fashion Week craziness. But whenever I come back to New York, I visit. It’s beautiful and quiet and brings back very nice memories. – Custo Dalmau (Custo Barcelona)

“Lincoln Center is one of New York’s most important cultural centers. It will be an extraordinary backdrop on which to show fashion.” – Kenneth Cole.

“I love everything about Fashion Week. I’ll never get over having to superglue my petite feet into the shoes every season so they wouldn’t come off on the runway. I still do it when necessary!” – Lydia Hearst

“The front row has always been coveted by anyone who has ever been in, or yearned to be in, the tents. Years ago, before the advent of reality fashion shows and the internet, faces were not so known, and interlopers were more daring in their attempts to hijack up-close and personal placements. However, what these imposters rarely knew was that the prior generation of editors and fashion arbiters were a theatrical lot who made up for their lack of salary with an enormous sense of entitlement.” – Hal Rubenstein, fashion director, InStyle

“The Bryant Park shows forever changed the fashion industry – they inspired an unprecedented camaraderie amongst New York designers. Lincoln Center is the perfect new home for the Tents – both are iconic cultural institutions.” – Tommy Hilfiger

“Bryant Park became the beacon of what New York fashion stands for – an industry that’s tireless, and always moving forward.” – Anna Wintour

“Bryant Park became the heartbeat of fashion twice a year – we will miss it!” – Diane von Furstenberg

“I remember walking into the Tents for the very first time, a dreamer and a stranger to this world.” – Kelly Cutrone

“The inception and evolution of the Tents over the past 17 years served as a both the catalyst and the ballast in solidifying New York as a global fashion capital.” – Julie Mannion, KCD Public Relations

Fashion Hangover: So Long Bryant Park!

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