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New York Fashion Week Returns With Pomp and Controversy

New York Fashion Week returns today (Sept 5) touching off the usual pomp and controversy.

New York Fashion Week returns today (Sept 5) touching off the usual pomp and controversy.

Oscar de la Renta made sure New York Fashion Week returned today (Sept. 5) with its usual pomp and controversy after grousing about the high number of celebrities who cram their way into shows and turn the event into a “look-at-me” spectacle.

The eight-day celebration of couture has been tamed somewhat by its move from the cacophony of Bryant Park’s tents to the slightly more uplifting confines of Lincoln Center.

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But the meeting of fashion elite, which will be followed by shows in London, Milan and Paris, is still the event that everyone loves to hate… but must attend.

Like the swallows returning to Capistrano, The New York Times also wheeled out its annual lament in a story titled “Is New York Fashion Week Near the End of the Runway?

It notes with some melancholy that Fashion Week was once strictly an industry event dreamed up in 1941 by the International Ladies’ Garment Workers Union. They invited 30 journalists to New York to review the latest designs.

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Since then, the annual event has mushroomed into a mega-show that in the words of de la Renta has lost “the reason of why we’re showing.”

The 81-year-old fashion legend says his beef is with the “huge crowds of people with no direct connection to the clothes.” He’s limiting his show on Sept. 10 to only 350 attendees with a “legitimate professional purpose” to be there.

In fact, it’s become fashionable to rail against what New York Fashion Week has become. It’s a sign that you are a real fashion insider, not a see-me celebrity or poseur.

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The fact is more than 350 shows and presentations of spring/summer 2014 collections will mark the event, and the majority of them will go begging for media coverage and people to see their clothes. Only the biggest, trendiest names attract celebrities and create the circus atmosphere that del la Renta decries.

Diane von Furstenberg, Ralph Lauren, Carolina Herrera, Michael Kors, Versace, Gucci and other top brands will draw the lion’s share of attention and coverage and will actually be staged at the glittery Lincoln Center.

Most of the brands will be shown at various locations around New York City like Milk Studios, the new Spring Studios and a slew of Chelsea galleries, according to The Times.

Of course, celebrities, whom many consider the bane of Fashion Week, not only add glitz, but they also are the show horses for designs making waves on the runways. So there is definitely a symbiotic relationship between the two.

Still, some are envisioning a day when a big, boisterous event like New York Fashion Week fades away, replaced by digital shows on the Internet, or by more intimate shows throughout the year.

Then, again, fashionistas have been saying that for decades and IMG, which bought Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in 2001, has no plans to end the event. So, on with the show. And… feel free to complain.

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