Future of Fashion Week Threatened, New Venue Sought for September 2015

  It’s not the end of the world, sort of, but it was officially declared via court order on December 12, that Mercedes Benz Fashion Week will not return to the Lincoln Center after this latest run of shows conclude in February 2015. After expansion demands originally required a strategic move from Bryant Park to Lincoln Center in 2010, the five-year run for Fashion Week at Lincoln Center is officially coming to an end, with both IMG Fashion and the Center getting the boot. The apparent reasoning behind this latest turn in events, falls behind a year and a half long court battle involving the New York City Park Advocates ("NYCPA"), Lincoln Center, and the City of New York. In its original court complaint, the NYCPA alleged violations by Lincoln Center concerning the use of Damrosch Park -- a public park falling under the maintenance and operations of the Center, and one that was used heavily during Fashion Week.  

  While it remains somewhat unclear what gave rise to the original lawsuit filed last May, a recent settlement agreement between the parties clearly outlines that after February 2015, “IMG Fashion shall vacate the premises and remove all tents and other Fashion Week equipment from the Park.” Upon news of the agreement being made public on December 18, a spokesperson for IMG released the following statement: “Lincoln Center has been a great home for the past five years and we look forward to another world-class season this February. However, as the fashion industry continues to evolve, IMG has been active looking for a new home for New York Fashion Week that gives our designers and partners the best possible environment to share their creative visions. We look forward to sharing more details on our new home soon.”  

  Although court records indicate that the City of New York and IMG are actively working together towards securing an alternative location, a report by the New York Times claims that first choice venue, Culture Shed, selected by CFDA President Diane von Furstenberg, CFDA CEO Steven Kolb, and former mayor of New York Michael Bloomberg, remains under construction with a scheduled completion in 2018 – a date that fails to satisfy the looming requirements for the September 2015 run of shows. The question then bids, where will New York Fashion Week be held in the meantime? Our reports this past September and prior coverage on designer and blogger relations hinted towards an already mounting discord within the Fashion Week spectrum. With a significant drop in designer participation at Lincoln Center this past September, this recent turn of events is unsurprising. Major designers such as Diane von Furstenberg and Kate Spade privately showcased their collections off site, while other designers such as the late Oscar de la Renta, voiced frustrations alluding to the increasingly distracting atmosphere for Fashion Week created by spectators, bloggers, and fans. With the search for a new Fashion Week venue underway, we will remain on the lookout for any new developments that come forth on the horizon. As the CFDA and IMG Fashion seemingly remain at odds, the layout for the September 2015 showcases should be very interesting.    

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