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Fashion Week Lounges: You Sit, They Sell

February 18, 2004, 12:00 AM EST

Fashion Week showgoers relaxed at the W hotels lounge in front of Olympus' "Great Wall of Photography" in the Bryant Park tents.

Fashion Week IMG's tents in Bryant Park and various locations Friday, 02.06.04, to Friday, 02.13.04
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Walking the runways in stilettos is hard work, as is sitting still in the audience for show after show during Fashion Week. Fortunately for the assembled masses of models, editors and assorted hangers-on, the Bryant Park tents offered a variety of branded lounges where they could kick off their Choos and relaxwhile marketers hawked their products and promoted their brands. (After all, Fashion Week is like one giant industry trade show, and stylish lounges are a big trend in trade shows.) W hotels and Song airlines sponsored the official lounges in the tents, and the Social Club sponsored a bar along with Fashion Week newspaper The Daily. Further uptown, In the Bag presented a celebrity and V.I.P. gift lounge in a Flatotel suite.

W presented two casual lounges near the entrance to the tents, where sequined and studded throw pillows atop silvery benches provided a casual meeting, mixing and relaxing place. Backstage, W's V.I.P.-only loungeinspired by the pages of Dwell magazineafforded a higher level of luxury for celebrities and models between runway appearances. There, Bliss spa offered reflexology massages and the Diamond Information Center brought an array of baubles for visitors to ogleif not to buy.

In the Song airlines lounge, MKG Productions ditched W-style minimalism for bright seating, equally bright signature cocktails like the Song Sunrise and dozens of miniature airplanes lining the walls. Two rows of authentic airline seats faced a Microsoft flight simulation demo on a flat-screen monitor. Additional monitors around the lounge broadcast a live feed from fashion shows, and computer terminals with Internet hook-ups allowed show-goers to go online. Fitness guru David Barton dropped by the lounge midweek to demonstrate the in-flight exercise routine he developed for Song.

The Experiential Agency produced a lounge area in the back of the tent for official Fashion Week title sponsor Olympus. The agency created a relaxed, comfortable environment with custom-designed furnishings and carpets that was still a fully functional work space complete with rows of computers. Olympus also sponsored an art installation in the center fountain by Queer Eye for the Straight Guy's Thom Filicia, the press credential room and two “Great Walls of Photography,” where the staff added new large-format backstage photographs daily.

About 150 celebrities and editors checked out a freebie-filled lounge at the Flatotel. Gift bag company In the Bag pulled in a team of sponsors who plied visitors with special services and enough gifts to fill their taxis home: Stylists from Ecru were on hand to refresh tired 'do's, makeup artists from Bed Head provided makeovers, and specialists from Peter Thomas Roth gave skin care consultations. Depending on their whim, guests could refresh with Gevalia coffee, Voss water, or Hpnotiq and Grey Goose cocktails served by pretty faces from the staffing company ModelBartenders.com. A party at the hotel's Moda restaurant on Friday night bid ciao to the gift loungeand to Fashion Week.

Alesandra Dubin

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