>> Designers may be pulling their belt tighter this Fashion Week, but hardly any are pulling out of the rat race altogether — the attention is too valuable. "You kill a thousand birds with one stone, because you get that many people there in an hour and you're getting one message across to them," says Scott Sternberg of Boy and Band of Outsiders. "They're writers and photographers and culturally indulgent people with loud mouths."
Instead, designers are saving by hosting presentations instead of runway shows (Monique Lhuillier, Temperley London, and Carmen Marc Valvo), inviting fewer guests (Marc Jacobs and DKNY, who's slicing her usual 1,000 down to 400), sending email invites instead of by mail (nearly everyone), or showing fewer looks to save on fabric and sample-making costs.
Two models, 15 looks, and a free space to show it in »
Sternberg is paying models with clothes — which models are sure to see more than usual this season — and using young set and lighting designers who are willing to work for free. Juan Carlos Obando is doing fittings at a friend's office, "which saves $3,000. Instead of hiring a photographer I'm getting a friend to do it, which saves $5,000."
A number of designers are teaming up for group presentations, to split the cost of renting a space — Nicholas K., Mara Hoffman, and Sergio Davila are showing in the Tents back-to-back in the same time slot, Alison Lewis of Lewis and Ashley Granata of the new accessories line Ashley Jeanne are combining resources for a "salon-like" show at Bobo, and best friends Camilla Staerk and Victor Glemaud are also sharing space. And some designers are using spaces they don't have to pay for — like Jenni Kayne, who is showing her 15 looks on two models in her parents' Park Avenue apartment.
After-parties are a thing of the past — Marc Jacobs, Alexander Wang, Calvin Klein, and Zac Posen all canceled theirs — if anything, intimate dinners are in order, like the one Thakoon Panichgul is hosting Feb. 20.
And if the belt has to be extra tight, Sari Gueron and Swaim and Christina Hutson have still found a way to make their new clothes known — both parties are holding private press and sales appointments during Fashion Week.