The Tents, A History of New York Fashion Week
Jul 28, 2011 - by Jessica Lapidos
I just sneak previewed the film that has crept its way into the belly of New York's fashionable whale. It found three glasses of Chandon and a dime-size
hors d'oeuvre dinner. It also found the history of New York Fashion Week, which evolved from a goose chase of Manhattan's shabbier locales to an editor-friendly runway machine inside Tents that house the most fabulous of circus on the planet. The Tents: The NY Fashion Week Documentary gives a proper remembrance to the 18 years in Bryant Park where fashion changed. Through interviews with Donna, Calvin, Betsey, Isaac, Carolina, Zac, Tommy, editors and NYFW creators, we get an über dramatic ("Editors had to take taxis all over town, HORRIBLE!"), yet pretty darn accurate collective fashion saga. Watch the chill-inducing trailer here.
Let us remember a time when 7th was on 6th, when Betsey Johnson could roll her rolling racks down the block, skipping and singing to her show. When fashion made a spectacle for commoners to notice in the middle of a "public park", when there was more than the 1 2 3 to get you there. When NYFW got classy, got prestige, got monetized, then outgrown.
A small recap of the film by James Belzer, formerly of Harper's Bazaar, before you see it this Fashion Week at its true premiere:
Fashion and/or market week in the glamourous 80s consisted of designers renting giant spaces in Manhattan. Some nightclubs, some hotels, but mostly abandoned buildings downtown. Chunk of ceiling at (baby-faced) Michael Kors, falls on esteemed fashion writer Suzy Menkes's head. Headline, "We live for fashion but we don't want to die for it"! Get it together New York. Then-CFDA President Stan Herman with Fern Mallis gather top designers and editors to determine what it would take to make it happen. "Tents!" Mallis declares. Against all odds, Tents in Bryant Park are then erected twice a year for the next 18 years. And now, Lincoln Center.
I won't tell you more. It's worth the watch to hear the story straight from the movers and shakers that made it happen.