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OPINION COLUMN: TED KRUCKEL

Where, Oh, Where Will Fashion Week Go?

As Bryant Park acts like a brigand landlord, I have questions.

Marie Claire's BraArt fund-raiser utilized used bras sent in by readers, a first for this columnist.

I guess I was supposed to write something sooner about Fashion Week. But the NYC style carnival, like the Hamptons, isn’t really hot anymore, is it? I went to a few shows/parties, most fine but boring, although glimpsing Liza Minelli swaying atop tiny black shoes in a giant purple cape had almost everyone gasping. She looked like a human hot air balloon.

One event I attended was excitingly bad, and thus restored my faith in the need for this column: Marie Claire sold old bras in an ugly, depressing benefit exhibit titled “BraArt: Bras for a Cause,” which I was fascinated by. Sponsored by Barely There bras and Bacardi Limon, this remarkably ill-conceived event began with reader donations, in this case, old bras mailed in to the new Hearst castle. That’s right, readers sent in 500 used brassieres. (I did not see Madame Paulette as a co-sponsor, which begs a question…) These repurposed bras were then turned over to artists (none you ever heard of, guess why?), who then converted them into BraArt. Most were used in uninteresting photos. There were bras made into chandeliers that were clever and nonoffensive, but hung too high to really look at. But most excitingly, they tied the remainder of old, used bras, daisy-chain style, around the columns for decor. Also, no air-conditioning.

No one was bidding, but if they had, the money would have gone to the SoHo Partnership. I asked how much they hoped to raise, but was told they were still tallying.

But what really fascinated me were the announcements at the end ofFashion Week about the changing face of the whole thing, namely thatthe Bryant Park Association was evicting tent erectors 7th on Sixth. Some questions:

1. Wouldn’t you have loved to have been a fly on the wall at the meeting where the just signed-on title sponsor Mercedes-Benz was informed that the tents would have to leave Bryant Park, possibly as soon as the next season’s shows?

2. Having Anna Wintour reach out to Mayor Bloomberg (whose lady friend Diana Taylor was lavishly featured a few seasons back in Vogue) seemed wise, but why did it take so long?

3. Could it possibly be true that a temporary skating rink—reportedlythe park’s preferred February tenant—benefits more New Yorkers andprovides more revenue than Fashion Week, which seems to involvethousands of people and just about everyone I know, (which I can’t sayabout the skaters, can you?)?

4. If the above is true, shouldn’t all designers, not just Vera Wang, make skating skirts?

5. Does anyone remember the season when the fashion shows were at Chelsea Piers?Oh, the griping. Truth be told, all the fancy people with cars anddrivers had a hell of a nerve complaining about the two flights ofstairs. The truth, I can tell you first hand, was that if you were anorganizer, getting workers and supplies there was the real headache.

6. Doesn’t it seem like there are more and more sponsors every year andthat they get weirder and weirder? This year there were airplane chairsyou could sit in, as if life didn’t present enough opportunities to sitin airplane chairs.

7. Did anyone besides me find it amusing that one of the reasons given as to why Lincoln Centerwouldn’t work as an alternative was because the pathway connecting thetents would be too long, apparently the length of an entire city block?Imagine.

8. Wasn’t the timing of this news really very interesting?

9. If Bryant Park is truly public property, shouldn’t the rent amountspaid by 7th on Sixth, as well as other park exhibitors, be publicrecord?

10. While we’re on that, what is it with these parks and their commissions?

11. When they find a new home, will Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week be sure to have skid-proof flooring so that poor Lindsay Lohan won’t fall in her new low-heeled Chanel boots and have to be hospitalized for the sixth time in two years?

12. Why not have the shows at Ground Zero? Apparently, not much else going on there.

13. Does anyone besides me find the whole situation remarkably cursed and unlucky?

14. If you work in marketing for former title sponsor Olympus, aren’t you just pleased as punch?

Elsewhere:

The Museum of the City of New York had its annual shindig the other day. J. Mendelwas the sponsor, so this year they were lending dresses in pale colorswith lots of gauze. Instead of a gift bag, you were handed a list ofdonors (printed on pink paper) as you left, so during your ride homeyou gazed at their names instead of rifling through a sack filled withstuff for the cleaning lady, which seemed fine to me.

But there was grumbling.

Abigail Kirsch was the caterer, but by 11 PM I didn’t see any sweets served for this after-dinner party—and I asked. [The caterer reports there was one dessert item, “pink meringue kisses.” —Ed.] Whycan’t anybody get this savory/sweet/hour-of-the-day thing right? I didnotice one sweet item, a champagne drink in a vivid ruby color, butnone of the fancy ladies I know could choke one down, sending themmarching to the regular bar in the garden for “straight champagne,” aphrase new to me. Apparently, the proffered concoction was too sweet. Go figure.

Posted 09.27.06

Columnist Ted Kruckel is an experienced and opinionated formerevent and PR pro who ran events for 20 years for high-profile clientslike Vanity Fair, Elle Decor, Christian Dior, and Carolina Herrera. He shuttered his firm, Ted Inc., in 2003.