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The Uptown-Downtown Venue Showdown: The Tents vs. Milk Studios

This season Milk Studios and M.A.C. have teamed up to offer designers a centralized alternative to showing in the Bryant Park tents. Some of spring 2010’s hottest shows — Alexander Wang, Proenza Schouler, ThreeAsFour, and many others — will take place at Milk this season. And while the tents will still host 63 shows, Milk is hosting a formidable 30. It’s the tents’ first major competition, if you will, in Fashion Week history. So what truly will be the place to see and be seen at this Fashion Week? Herewith, an empirical analysis based on several scientific factors.

PEOPLE-WATCHING
Tents: The tents host 100,000 people over an eight-day period. The tent seats 1,100, the promenade 800, and the salon 350. You have a pretty good shot at seeing Anna Wintour, Hamish Bowles, Zoe Saldana, and four actresses from a CW show within one hour. But your chances of coming within arm’s reach of any? Slim at best.
Milk:Milk’s runway on the second floor, where most of the shows will take place, has a capacity of 308 seated and 50 standing, while the main room for presentations has a capacity of 100 to 200. So you might not only see Anna Wintour, but you could very well then get pushed into her, only to turn around and realize Nina Garcia accidentally bumped you!
Winner: Milk. Touching famous people — even accidentally — beats staring at them any day.

LOUNGING
Tents: The tents offer the comfort of four backstage lounges, most of which have bars and free chocolate — some even taunt you by offering Pop burgers. You can read three days' worth of the Daily while consuming highly caloric treats in relative peace.
Milk: M.A.C. and Milk offer one backstage lounge and one press room. So if a celebrity’s security team shuts down the lounge, you might be stuck wandering Chelsea, looking for a Starbucks in which you might kill some time.
Winner: Tents. What more could you need than free Pop burgers, chocolate, and booze?

BATHROOMS:
Tents: The hall of port-a-potties will be there, as usual. To IMG’s credit, they are the nicest port-a-potties (we really do appreciate the makeup mirrors) we’ve ever encountered.
Milk: Milk has actual bathrooms on the eighth floor! And on the second floor! And in the Milk gallery! For a total of eighteen ladies' toilets, nineteen men’s toilets, and two VIP toilets.
Winner: Milk. No one chooses port-a-potties over the loveliness of private stalls.

AFTER-PARTIES:
Tents: No after-parties are held in the tents, ever.
Winner: Milk, by default. Plus, we hear the coolest, sweatiest party of the week — Alexander Wang’s — is taking place there this season.

ALCOHOL:
Tents: The tents will host five bars this season. Main alcohol sponsors include Chambord and Peroni, while other products will be available for sampling.
Milk: Milk has no permanent bars, but is working with several liquor brands throughout the week.
Winner: Tents. During Fashion Week, you need a bar in every corner.

HANGOVER REMEDIES:
Tents: The tents guarantee a healthy supply of free cookies courtesy of Lu, free coffee courtesy of McDonald’s, and free water courtesy of One National Experience.
Milk: Milk offers free Fiji water backstage and two full-time cafés on the second and eighth floors.
WINNER: Tents. There’s nothing like going to your first show on Sunday morning only to be greeted by a girl in lederhosen unloading cookies for the select people who aren’t too embarrassed to take them.

SWAG:
Tents: The tents have thirteen sponsors this season, many of which will readily woo showgoers with free cookies, raffles, flip-flops, pens, Post-It notes, specialty cocktails, what have you.
Milk: M.A.C. and Milk are the sole sponsors — hopefully you’ll collect some free makeup.
Winner: Tents. We’re suckers for guaranteed free sustenance and office supplies.

BUDGET-CONSCIOUSNESS:
Tents: The cost of a runway in Bryant Park ranges from $25,000 to $50,000. Additional costs for hair, makeup, and styling vary by show.
Milk: Thanks to M.A.C. and Milk, the spaces are donated — however, costs for anything that deviates from the standard setup must be covered by the designer.
Winner: Milk. M.A.C. saves designers showing there at least $25,000.

FINAL SCORE:
Tents: Four wins.
Milk: Four wins.

It's a serious toss-up! Milk and M.A.C. are certainly putting in a lot of time and energy to ensure Milk is the home away from home to many an editor, buyer, and blogger this Fashion Week. But IMG’s tents are a haven of sponsorships, freebies, and cozy temperature-controlled lounges. We'll obviously have to wait for the lights to go up and the week to get under way before we can truly judge. It's another thing for us to obsessively compare notes about during an already obsessive week ... we genuinely can't wait to see how this unfolds!

Photo: Getty Images

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Copyright © 2013, New York Media LLC.
All Rights Reserved.

Copyright © 2013, New York Media LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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