By Anna Sekula Posted February 16, 2009, 2:01 PM EST
NEW YORK The recession has hit the fashion community hard, and most noticeable is the lack of the over-the-top sets, stages, and entertainment that have been the norm at Fashion Week shows. In the first round of fall/winter 2009 collections, minimalist scenes abounded, and even labels like Y-3, Miss Sixty, and Lacoste kept production simple. Nevertheless, each show was as crowded as ever, drawing big names like Kanye West, Mischa Barton, Lindsay Lohan, and Jennifer Love Hewitt.
One company that did make a splash was Barbie maker Mattel, which hosted the first runway show for the doll brand on Saturday afternoon in the Bryant Park tents. Held as part of the 50th anniversary promotional blitz for Barbie, the packed viewing employed a bright pink runway and LED backdrop to highlight the lineup of Barbie-inspired creations from designers including Betsey Johnson, Kenneth Cole, and Catherine Malandrino.
For others over the weekend, lighting and floor decor played an important role in establishing the setting. Location also factored in for some—relative newcomers like Chadwick Bell, Shipley & Halmos, and Jason Wu held court at west Chelsea spaces. And to kick off the weeklong series of shows, on Friday night title sponsor Mercedes-Benz headed to Shang, a new bar and restaurant on the Lower East Side, with Fashion Week organizer IMG Fashion and rock quartet the Virgins.