Fashion Week Preview: Changes to the Tents, Show Shuffles, and Gen Art's Return

By Anna Sekula September 7, 2011, 12:30 PM EDT

The new facade for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week at Lincoln Center was unveiled over the holiday weekend. Unlike the original design, which matched the architecture of the surrounding buildings, the look for the September shows is intentionally modern.

Photo: Courtesy of IMG Fashion

Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week starts tomorrow, and with the third installation of the biannual shows at the Lincoln Center tents come a number of new developments. For the first anniversary of the move uptown, the official site itself is getting an update, the facade changing from the travertine-patterned vinyl that debuted last September to a sleeker, more polished look that will also allow for the integration of digital multimedia, and the lobby modified to better accommodate sponsor displays and traffic flow.

“We decided to evolve the design this season as we continually make improvements to the facility. We're excited about the new, more modern look of the facade, which juxtaposes itself against the more traditional architecture of Lincoln Center, as well as the flexibility it will provide over the next couple of seasons to explore digital integration and other technology driven enhancements,” said Peter Levy, senior managing director of IMG Fashion Worldwide, in a press release.

In terms of the designers and their shows, IMG is also planning some digital ventures that will expand the online presence of Fashion Week. The organization is introducing a lookbook microsite in collaboration with technology company Stylesight that will allow press and buyers to browse designer collections, and is extending its partnership with YouTube and Maybelline by adding a mobile feature that will enable users to access more than 30 runway presentations being live-streamed to the video hub.

Outside the tents there's plenty of action, although the arrival of Hurricane Irene last month delayed preparations and caused some rescheduling. Most notable was the change by Marc Jacobs, who was planning to present his eponymous line on the evening of September 12. The designer will now show at the 69th Regiment Armory on September 15 and move the Marc by Marc Jacobs collection into the original time slot. To avoid a conflict with Jacobs, Bill Blass bumped up the timing of its show at the Union League Club, from 5 p.m. on September 15 to 12.30 p.m. the same day. The tropical storm also posed problems for Theyskens' Theory, which shifted its event at Center548 from September 12 at 12 p.m. to September 13 at 4 p.m.

More designers are participating in other Fashion Week events—each supported by an impressive slate of sponsors—including the three-day Style360 series, which will take over the Metropolitan Pavilion from September 11 to 13; MAC Cosmetics and Milk Studio's incubator, now known as Made, Presented by MAC; and Gen Art's Fresh Faces in Fashion Presented by Smart Car. The last, a one-night affair open to consumers and the industry that will take place on Friday (September 9) at the grand ballroom of Manhattan Center Studios, marks the organization's first fashion-related event since relaunching under new ownership earlier this year.

“We knew this was the event that we wanted to kick off our fashion programming under Sandow Media. Fresh Faces in Fashion was incredibly successful historically and is still relevant and makes sense within the current marketplace,” said Elizabeth Shaffer, Gen Art's co-president. The lead partner for the show, which will present lines from seven emerging fashion designers and four up-and-coming accessories designers, is Mercedes-Benz sister company Smart Car. “Smart Car is the first official automotive partner for Gen Art since our relaunch and, after spending a lot of time with the brand team and understanding what their core objectives are, we think it's the right fit for both sides. We feel that Smart Car really speaks to the future of the automotive industry and it's a brand that resonates with our consumer audience. It's a really organic partnership because both Smart and the Fresh Faces in Fashion program support originality.”

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