“Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only.  Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.”

     - Coco Chanel

It is as easy to dismiss fashion as merely dresses as it is wrong.  There is, in fact, a fascinating interface between the rarified physical treasures of haute couture and the tangible life we lead every day.  Fashion can be viewed as the attempted capture of the “now”, to pinion it like a butterfly and exhibit its brilliantly doomed colors.  It represents an ever-increasingly influential mediation between ourselves as individuals and what we call culture, providing the skin we present to the world, the language with which we communicate before words get in the way.

Since 1943, when it was known as Press Week, New York has hosted Fashion Week.  Famously one of the most frenetic cities on earth, New York takes seven days to breathe in the nowest nexus of now.  Twice a year, in February and September, the high priests of fashion descend on New York to premier their new collections at glittering invitation-only shows attended by the fashion press and A-List celebrities.  New York´s Fashion Week is the first of the season - followed by London, Milan and Paris - and sets the style agenda for the coming year.

This year, Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week moved the enormous city of luxurious Tents that house the shows’ catwalks and runways from its previous home at Bryant Park to Damrosch Park at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.  Inaugurated in 1956 by John D Rockefeller III, who also oversaw its construction, the Lincoln Center occupies a peerless position in the global cultural elite.  It is home to the Julliard School, the New York Philharmonic, the Metropolitan Opera, the New York City Ballet, the New York City Opera, and some of the world’s premier theaters -such as the David H. Koch Theater- and performance spaces.

That Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week and its circus of fantasy should be permitted entry to this lofty environment seems particularly significant.  This September’s Fashion Week has seen spectacular shows from the fashion elite, such as Carolina Herrera, Badgley Mischka, Diane von Furstenberg, and Michael Kors, and the industry’s rising stars, including Max Osterweis and Joseph Altuzarra.  Having introduced a groundbreaking and interactive credentialing system, designed and administered by GPS Fashion (the industry’s leading provider of technological solutions) this September’s New York Fashion Week has been a show as grandiose, smooth, secure and accessible as befits its illustrious new setting.

Victoria Beckham also introduced her fifth collection, and the Chanel Boutique in Soho opened.  One outstanding highlight has been Tom Ford’s lauded return to the fashion circuit following his success with his first foray into movie directing, A Single Man

As Chanel noted, however, fashion is not solely an insular club that focuses on its own mysterious processes.  It has impact and influence beyond catwalk, Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week defines New York’s entire season.  The restaurants, bars and nightclubs that open during Fashion Week and cater to the insatiable demands of the industry’s social scene are as much influenced by and an influence on the style of now.

Those establishments that are successful in this vitally important but tiny window become the hot spots in New York nightlife for the next season.  Names to watch this year have included the reopening of Nur Khan and Paul Sevigny’s Don Hill´s, and the reopening of legendary Boom Boom Room.  Iconic rooftop bar Le Bain hosted a party for Purple Magazine - generally responsible for the last word in French cool - and Naomi Campbell’s Blackout Party to celebrate her incredible 25th anniversary in the fashion industry.  While Villa Pacri hosted  Dom Perignon´s tribute to Andy Warhol, The Strip sparkle of Las Vegas super-restaurant, bar and nightclub Lavo, has transferred itself to New York with considerable aplomb and great gusto and is fast becoming a firm favorite with fashion cognoscenti, celebrities and ordinary alike.

As this extraordinary circus moves on to London, what the most vibrant and truly global city keeps are the brilliant butterflies - the sights and sounds, the places to see and be seen, and the looks in which to do so - that will be this year’s now

     - Ben Stewart

Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week S/S 2011

Concept:  Fashion Week
September 9th to September 16th, 2010
Address:  Lincoln Center, 33 West 60th Street
New York, 10002
04 390 4945

MB Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2011:  February 10th to February 17th, 2011
Photo Credit:  Courtesy of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week
Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week S/S 2011

Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week SS2011 106
Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week SS2011 29
Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week SS2011 98
Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week SS2011 73
Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week SS2011 123
Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week SS2011 54
Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week SS2011 14
Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week SS2011 35
Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week SS2011 21
Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week SS2011 81
Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week SS2011 24
Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week SS2011 88
Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week SS2011 22
Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week SS2011 26
Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week SS2011 103