Whether overshadowed by the elaborate initiatives created for Fashion's Night Out or cut for budgetary purposes, the staging and set designs of Fashion Week this season have been somewhat subdued—even outside the official Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week tent venues—with not quite the same level of exhibitionism that February offered.
However, in place of ornamented backdrops and fancy runway surfaces was the continued experimentation with different format styles—from the intimate café-style setup of Tommy Hilfiger Men's on the High Line and the tongue-in-cheek corporate boardroom tableau at the Nasdaq MarketSite for DKNY Men's to Vivienne Tam's live sculpture garden of yoga wear in Lincoln Center's Hearst Plaza and the cabaretlike scene that opened the Marc Jacobs show at the 69th Regiment Armory. Perhaps the most unusual was Norma Kamali's outing, which debuted the designer's spring 2012 collection via an eight-minute 3-D film displayed on Lincoln Center's David Rubenstein Atrium's 42- by 13.6-foot media wall.
Younger labels also made an effort with decorative environments. Gant by Michael Bastian had tropical-looking, flower-filled platforms for its models in the Park's garden atrium, Degen put knitters on display at west Chelsea site Artisanal House, and Alice & Olivia created a garden landscape to contrast its bright-colored looks at Highline Stages.