The History of Fashion Week

Fashion Week is an international event where thousands of people migrate to the style capitals of the world to get the scoop on the latest runway trends. September 4th kicks of the start of one of the top 4 fashion showcases in the entire world, New York Fashion Week. Everyone is just dying to get to NYFW…Vogue Editor Anna Wintour, Stylist Michaela Erlanger, just about ever fashion blogger, and even lil ol’ me.

But have you ever stopped and wondered, Where did the idea of Fashion Week come from? And just why in heavens name did the fashion genius behind this put together such a grueling showcase?

Well, heres the story for you…

Harpers Bazaar, Vogue, Fashion Week, New York Fashion Week, The history of new york fashion week, NYFW

Prior to World War II, the New York fashion scene didn’t get any playtime. Paris, France was at the forefront of all International Fashion. Popular magazines like Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar solely featured Parisian couture designs which led American Journalists and everyday women to scout out inspiration and couture pieces from French Designers.

 

Now, remember this year: 1943

 

During the year of 1943, France, by now a major participant in WWII, was occupied by Nazi Germany. Since the Nazi soldiers were a major threat at the time, it was practically impossible for International Journalist to enter Paris to attend the well popular fashion shows and events.

Eleanor Lambert, Fashion Week, New York Fashion Week, The history of new york fashion week, NYFW

 

Eleanor Lambert, a publicist from New York, saw this as an opportunity to enhance the reputation of American Fashion and solidify a position for local couture designers in international fashion. She created a fashion showcase called Press Week. Now, before Eleanor’s Press Week, regional journalist could never fully cover designers because they were only allowed to shadow buyers in local stores. However, Press Week solely granted international and regional media access to the American fashion showcase.

Press Week 1943, Eleanor Lambert, Fashion Week, New York Fashion Week, The history of new york fashion week, NYFW

Press Week 1943

The first showcase was held at the Plaza Hotel and featured 53 shows in the form of a block schedule. Press received packages containing photographs of the couture pieces and press releases. As for buyers, they were required to schedule a showroom visit to view all of the collections featured on the runways.

Less than half of the journalist she sent an invite to attended Press Week, but it was enough to make the event an instant international success and ultimately, create history. The Daily News, Vogue, and Harper’s Bazaar now boasted of American Collections featured at Press Week.

Eleanor Lambert, Fashion Week, New York Fashion Week, The history of new york fashion week, NYFW, Press Week

Press Week continued to take place in different NYC locations throughout the years. Designers staged shows at local restaurants, hotels, and lofts until 1990 when an unfortunate incident occurred at a Michael Kors show involving an injured runway model.

Eleanor Lambert, Fashion Week, New York Fashion Week, The history of new york fashion week, NYFW, Fern Mallis

Fern Mallis

The director of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (also founded by Eleanor), Fern Mallis quickly took action and relaunched Press Week as New York Fashion Week under the tents of Bryant Park in the spring of 1994. Celebrities, stylists, editors, and major sponsors like Mercedes Benz flocked to the annual event. Unfortunately, the tents of Bryant Park were to small to sustain the growing crowd, so the Council and IMG Fashion decided to permanently station the event at a new location, the Lincoln Center.

lincoln center, Eleanor Lambert, Fashion Week, New York Fashion Week, The history of new york fashion week, NYFW

The Lincoln Center annually harbors one of the most iconic fashion shows in the world and some of most talented designers of the decade. Although, Fashion Week was created for other purposes, we can’t deny the fact that even under immense pressure and hectic schedules, it peacefully unites people from all walks of life for an evening of admiration and inspiration!

Eleanor Lambert, Fashion Week, New York Fashion Week, The history of new york fashion week, NYFW

Sources: Time,  Huffington Post, Smith Sonian Magazine, Savoir Flair,  Google Images

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8 Comments on The History of Fashion Week

  1. tianna
    September 4, 2014 at 6:06 pm (2 years ago)

    it’s incredible what a fascinating history there is behind NYFW – fashion history is so interesting – thanks for sharing!

    Reply
    • Simone R
      Simone R
      September 4, 2014 at 7:16 pm (2 years ago)

      Yes! It was a very fun post to make, as i have lived in ny my whole life but i wasn’t familiar with the history of nyfw until now. Thank you for commenting! 🙂

      Reply
    • Simone R
      Simone R
      September 6, 2014 at 1:40 am (2 years ago)

      Thank you! 🙂

      Reply
  2. Stephanie @ A Sparkle Factor
    September 5, 2014 at 10:18 am (2 years ago)

    Love this! What a great post. It’s amazing how NYFW has evolved and grown over the years. I’m sure Eleanor Lambert never anticipated that it would become what it is today! Thanks for this info! Really informative.

    x Stephanie from A Sparkle Factor

    Reply
    • Primebutterfly
      Primebutterfly
      September 6, 2014 at 1:52 am (2 years ago)

      I definitely agree and thank you so much for stopping by!

      Simone x 🙂

      Reply
  3. nrc
    September 22, 2014 at 1:35 pm (2 years ago)

    oh i loved reading this and learning
    NRC ♥

    Reply

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