Economy to Sap the Fabulous From February Fashion Week

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During Fashion Week, pockets of the city are transformed into a fantasyland. People who actually wear things like harem pants can do so to complimentary rather than confused stares while booze, editors, designers, and models run wild and free. But come February, the economy will rain on that all too fabulous parade. It's too soon to say just how the economic downturn will affect Fashion Week in February, but expect it to be anything but immune. IMG recently sent out venue packages to designers so they can reserve Bryant Park for their shows, and reservations are trickling in. We don't yet know if many designers will — and it pains us to type this — skip their runway shows this season. However, Fashion Week den mother Fern Mallis says she's already received inquiries from designers who usually don't show in the tents about showing in the tents in February, where the costs are lower than off-site.

Not that any fashion show is cheap — they can easily cost $150,000 or more. But young designers without, say, Calvin Klein–size bank accounts might favor presentations this season, which are cheaper than runway shows. Mallis is also encouraging young designers in similar markets to present their collections together to reduce costs. And as for the free booze? It might run free, but not nearly as wild. Mallis expects houses to cut back on extravagant events and parties. “Editors and guests that need to go to shows often have to go to store openings and other parties,” Mallis told WWD. “This year, we are anticipating we might see less of that happening.” Booooo. Next thing you know they'll take away our gift bags and everything will fall apart.

Are Fashion Shows Vulnerable? [WWD]