On a recent Saturday night, Jennifer Blumin, the president of the high-end event venue collection Skylight Group, could be found under a 60-foot crane at the High Line awaiting a tornado. Blumin manages the private events at the High Line — the proceeds are used to keep up the park, which costs about $7 million a year — and she was setting up for the Tommy Hilfiger fashion show the next day. “The tornado only hit Brooklyn and Queens after all,” she says, “but we were prepared for hail. I went down to Chelsea Market and ate a lobster roll sitting on the High Line in the rain.”
Blumin’s at the forefront of a new trend this week: fashion shows in reclaimed industrial spaces, with designers increasingly drawn to locations with potent New York history.
Skylight is hosting eight shows during Fashion Week, including four at a new venue, Skylight at Moynihan Station, the colonnaded Farley Post Office across the street from Penn Station. It's never been used for large-scale events before, but as it awaits the transformation into the new Amtrak Station, the Empire State Development Corporation decided to try putting in some fashion shows and events. Rag & bone showed in the 33,000-square-foot Postal Dock earlier in the week, using the room's enormous skylights to create shadows on the floor, and EDUN decorated the space by affixing mirror boxes to columns. Phillip Lim, which showed on Monday, sent models down the runway in a kind of figure-eight pattern, creating a seating area where almost half of the 500-person audience was able to sit in the front row. (Oliver Theyskens for Theory took an exclusive on showing in Skylight at Moynihan Stations's Mail Sorting Room, a 40,000-foot space with 47-foot tall ceilings.)
Skylight Group's other historic venues — where others see an abandoned warehouse, Blumin, who is the daughter of acclaimed urbanist Stuart Blumin, sees its potential for glamour and "industrial chic" events — include Skylight Soho, an 18,000-foot gallery space on Hudson Street that used to be a longshoreman’s meeting hall. Ralph Lauren has been showing there exclusively for fourteen years, spending three weeks building his own universe inside the space’s blank canvas. There’s also Skylight One Hanson, a beaux arts venue in the former Williamsburgh Savings Bank; Skylight West, a former parking garage near the Javits Center with the largest rooftop space in the city, where Reed Krakoff shows this Tuesday; and events at Skylight at the McKittrick Hotel, the home of immersive performance art piece Sleep No More. (In the past, that space was the not-so-historical Bed and Home nightclubs popular a decade ago).
The Farley Post Office place came to Blumin via James Ramsey and Dan Barasch, the forces behind the Lowline underground park — they were looking for a place to hold an exhibit of their light-harnessing device and considered leasing space. It wasn't right for them — they decided on the Essex Street Market, closer to the proposed location of the Lowline on the Lower East Side (the exhibit will open Thursday and continue through the month) — but Ramsey passed it along to Blumin, who’s more than a business acquaintance: She's his partner and mother of his eight-week-old, Finn (named after Phineas, the golden boy with joie de vivre pushed out of a tree by Gene Forrester in A Separate Peace). The three of them live in a loft in West Soho, biking to the nether regions of New York checking out old neighborhoods that haven’t changed yet, crawling around the vacated 102nd floor of the Empire State building, and going down a sewer in Brooklyn to find a trolley terminal. “We’re both gluttons for New York history books, and we’ve had the same dream while we’re sleeping of discovering this neighborhood near the South Street Seaport,” she says. “It’s an eighteenth-century harbor village that’s escaped the notice of every developer. I don’t know how we have the same dream, but we just do.”BEGIN SLIDESHOW
Most Viewed Stories
Rob Kardashian and Blac Chyna Reportedly Broke Up
Donald Trump Spent the Morning After the Debate Fat-Shaming Miss Universe, Again
It’s Finally Possible to Understand What Happened to Amanda Knox
Hillary Clinton’s Sickest Debate Burns
Ask a Boss: My Co-worker Wants Everyone to Call Her Boyfriend Her ‘Master’!
2009 Called — It Wants Its Vogue-Versus-Bloggers Fight Back.
22 Intimate Lost Photos of Marilyn Monroe
Former Miss Universe Becomes U.S. Citizen So She Can Vote Against Trump
Area Woman Interrupted by Man 25 Times in 26 Minutes
Our Scowling Hero Breaks a Smile
From Our Partners
The Zoe Report
The Fashion Spot
powered by PubExchange
The Cut’s Latest Fashion FeaturesCiara's Wedding Dress Was Too Big for the Chapel
To be fair, it was a 13 foot-long dress.You and Rihanna Will Both Want to Invest in Dior’s New Bag
It's got something for everyone.Polo Shirts Have Turned Their Back on Ryan Lochte
Along with his other major sponsors.Ryan Lochte Will No Longer Be Paid to Wear Tiny Bathing Suits
Speedo remains committed to transparency.Laura Brown Is the New Editor-in-Chief of InStyle
After 11 years at Harper’s Bazaar.Tyra Banks Is Going to Teach a Class on Smizing at Stanford
"If I see somebody not paying attention, I’m gonna call on them."This Floating Pier Is the Most Zen Installation Ever
Walking on water in Italy.Nation Is Appalled by Matt Lauer’s Nude Ankles During Ryan Lochte Interview
What’s the opposite of “Jeah”?8 People at the Life of Pablo Pop-up Explain Why Kanye West Is a God
"I mean, Kanye West is just Kanye West. There's not more or less you can say about Kanye West. He's just Mr. West!"A T-shirt Is Enough
Simplicity, versatility, and cool. What more could you want?
She took a perfect pencil dive off a 30-foot yacht.American Apparel Is Being Sued by Former Workers
As the company considers putting itself up for sale.A Gendered History of the Tailored Suit
From Marlon Brando to Coco Chanel.How Zendaya Developed Such Great Style at the Young Age of 19
The star's best looks from Disney to now.Proof That If You’re Chic Enough, a Little Federal Investigation Doesn’t Matter
Is this the best they could do?5,300-Year-Old Mummified Iceman Probably Would’ve Been a Street-Style Star
He had several different looks and was “pretty picky.”J.Crew Has Identified 226 Shades of Pink
Even more than there are shades of gray.Gigi and Bella Hadid Merch Is Now Somehow a Thing That Is Happening
Today in Hadidiana.Gird Your Loins for the Return of Yeezy to New York Fashion Week
The season approaches.This Indie Brand Had a Great Response to Ivanka Trump
When she bought one of their cuffs, they donated the proceeds to the Clinton campaign.