The New York Fashion Week : How it all began
Although plenty is written every season about the styles and fashions there is hardly any record of fashion shows. In pursuit of the latest trend, the fashion recorder forgets to chronicle the show itself, and, with the new season, its history, unfortunately not recorded.
However, it is quite possible to trace back the origins of the fashion show. Like the present day shows, the purpose of the show or exhibition was business or commerce. Designers could bring their wares in front of the general public and make a neat profit through clever marketing. These early shows brought about the concept of the departmental store.
The Press Week
American Fashion Shows took off as a result of WWII. The Mecca of Fashion, Paris got cut off from America due to occupation. Eleanor Lambert, saw the opportunity to throw of Fench hegemony in fashion. A “Press Week” was organised in 1943 at Manhattan’s Bryant Park where American designers presented their creations without French influence. Magazines like Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar began to feature American work and styles, and its ready-mades found acceptance at last. The Press Week became a regular feature and continued till the late ’50s.
Early Fashion Shows
Even before Lambert, some speciality stores in New York called Ehrich Brothers put up a fashion show in 1903 to lure middle-class females as customers. By 1910 bigger stores, like Wanamaker’s in Philladelphia and New York put up shows, but these were mostly to showcase Parisian trends.
From the 1920s to 1950s the fashion shows proliferated and were based on themes like Chinese, Russian, Mexican, or Napoleonic era, etc.
Birth of the Fashion Week
Shows in the ’70s and ’80s used to be organized in lofts and clubs and restaurants under unsafe conditions. The Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) decided to hold shows showcasing several designers in a central place.
The first Fashion Week was born in 1944 at Bryant Park, New York.