By Anna Sekula Posted September 16, 2010, 1:40 PM EDT
NEW YORK Just as live-streaming, Twitter posts, and Facebook updates have helped make Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week more accessible to the masses, the burgeoning number of presentations over runway shows this season marks a turning point for the biannual trade show, establishing a more inclusive, almost democratic approach that allows more guests to view the clothing up close. (There's no front row.) This style of showcasing collections also offers a budget-friendly option for small and new designers to participate, a notion apparent from the long list of names on the schedule this season. And with many of the presentations taking place outside the tents in raw, unadorned spaces, labels including Billy Reid and Gant by Michael Bastian took the opportunity to set the tone with prop-heavy scenery.
That's not to say a fair share of off-site shows didn't stick to the traditional runway format—established names like Marc Jacobs, Y-3, and Diesel all sent models strolling down a catwalk. However, these were noticeably less decorated than in seasons past. Y-3 kept the focus on rock 'n' roll, Yohji Yamamoto's inspiration for the sportswear line, by giving British rock band the Duke Spirit a central stage at the Park Avenue Armory on Sunday, and Marc Jacobs limited the set for his show at the 69th Regiment Armory on Monday to a lamp-shade-shaped structure made from bronze panels.