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Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week to Move to Lincoln Center

Renata Espinosa
February 03rd, 2009 @ 9:08 PM - New York

New York’s famed Lincoln Center, the nexus of the city’s performing arts, will add two more large-scale productions to its annual calendar: Starting in September 2010, Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, operated by IMG Fashion, will stage its 70-plus shows on that site twice a year.

Lincoln Center was chosen, said New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg at a press conference in New York on Tuesday, Feb. 3, where he made the announcement, in part because Damrosch Park, where the tents will be set up, offers more space – around 87,000 square feet versus 70,000 square feet at Bryant Park.

Since 2006, when an issue over the renewal of IMG Fashion’s lease with the Bryant Park Corporation was in question, the Council of Fashion Designers of America, IMG and the mayor’s office had been looking into alternative sites to stage the semi-annual shows. There were concerns from Bryant Park Corporation over security and the large crowds, as well as a conflict with their use of the park during the winter months – they operate a free ice skating rink.

The increase in space will allow IMG Fashion, who produce the fashion shows currently held at Bryant Park, to add a new fourth venue to accommodate presentation-style shows gaining in popularity as designers attempt to cut costs.

“We want to develop and create amenities and spaces that the next generation of designers need in this new economy,” said Fern Mallis, IMG Fashion senior vice president.

Last year, the two fashion weeks at Bryant Park drew 232,000 attendees, with an overall impact of $773 million for New York City, according the New York City Economic Development Corporation, with $466 million in direct visitor spending.

“It’s a hard economic time around the world, but if we stand still, we will lose our position as a fashion capital of the world,” said New York City Mayor Bloomberg.

“Some people want fashion week to stay at Bryant Park, and some don’t,” said Diane von Furstenberg, Council of Fashion Designers of America president, when asked about the concerns businesses adjacent to Bryant Park have over losing the business that fashion week brings in twice a year.

She added: “They will still benefit,” pointing out that these business are still in the center of the garment district, where many designers have their showrooms and continue conduct appointments there during fashion week.

Later during the press conference, the mayor joked with reporters about his own role as a New York fashion plate.

“I did, as you know, get a fashion award,” he said. He was honored last June by the CFDA at their annual awards ceremony in New York. “Well deserved, I might add,” he added. “I have red ties and blue ties; red, white and blue shirts, for America and all the colors of the city flag in sweaters. I don’t think I’m known by my daughters as a fashionista, though.”

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Fashion Wire Daily: The Last Word in Fashion


* Versus Hires Jonathan Anderson

* Cacharel Unveils New CEO, in Major Corporate Revamp


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