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New York Fashion Week is less than a week away and already it's shaping up to be a season unlike any other.
With retail sales in the doldrums, and the immediacy of social media challenging the exclusivity of shows, and the ability of magazines and designers to dictate trends six months ahead, the industry is trying new things to reinvent, which is changing the look and feel of the spring 2017 schedule.
Several labels are in transition, with new designers in place but not ready to show their collections yet (Raf Simons at Calvin Klein, Monse at Oscar de la Renta).
Other designers are trading traditional runway shows for alternative formats, hosting consumer-facing, social media-friendly extravaganzas (such as the carnival set-up for Tommy Hilfiger), for example. Others are choosing more exclusive, intimate presentations (see the appointment-only previews at J. Mendel).
And a few are going strictly digital (Misha Nonoo's Snapchat-only show, for example).
In addition to venue format changes, industry participation in the "see now, buy now" model is growing. Tom Ford, Rebecca Minkoff, Hilfiger and Nonoo are among those showing fall collections, instead of spring, and making them available for purchase simultaneously at the shows.
Could the efforts to eventize fashion week, and cater more directly to consumers, mean an end to runway shows with star-studded front rows as we know them, as designers shift attention to the people who are actually buying their clothes? Time will tell.
Here, a list of designers and labels approaching the upcoming New York Fashion Week differently.
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