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CFDA tightens runway calendar for New York Fashion Week

The Council of Fashion Designers of America knows that New York Fashion Week took a hit during the fall 2017 season and now it’s already made moves to strengthen the calendar.

Specifically, the official calendar has been trimmed by a day and will run from Thursday, Sept. 7 to Wednesday, Sept. 13, eliminating the second Thursday on the lineup. The organization has also secured strong opening and closing acts: Calvin Klein and Tom Ford will show on opening day at 10 a.m. and 7 p.m., respectively, and Marc Jacobs will close the week with a 6 p.m. show on Sept. 13.

Mark Beckham, the CFDA’s vice president of marketing, who oversees the calendar, said that the feedback from international press and retailers was that the eight-day schedule was becoming too long and costly. “For the past two seasons, Marc [Jacobs] has been on the last day pretty much alone, which obviously wasn’t as advantageous to him either,” said Beckham, noting that after a couple of seasons of discussions, Jacobs agreed to move his show to Wednesday evening. For years, the final day of NYFW had been slotted with Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren and finally Jacobs, but things changed when Lauren decided he wanted an evening show for spring 2017, and Raf Simons has opted to show earlier in the week for Calvin Klein.

During the last round of shows, New York Fashion Week found itself in flux. There was news that two key shows — Proenza Schouler and Rodarte — were defecting for the Paris Couture schedule. See-now-buy-now players, including Tommy Hilfiger and Rebecca Minkoff, took their shows to L.A. and weren’t guaranteeing a return to New York, and the schedule lingered on with an extremely sparse agenda on the second Thursday of the calendar. After the season ended came news that Hood by Air, which consistently delivered an interesting, boundary-pushing show, would be halting operations indefinitely. There were whispers of who would be next to leave the schedule.

When Tom Ford said that he was abandoning his see-now-buy-now strategy and planned to take up permanent residence (for now) during New York Fashion Week, CFDA chief executive officer and president Steven Kolb was elated.

“It’s important to have strong opening and closing shows,” said Beckham. “But it’s just as important to have strong designers showing everyday.”

Beckham also pointed out the domino effect calendar changes have. “The calendar is quite a puzzle. It’s not just the designers, it’s the teams, the production, hair and makeup, models,” he said, noting that the CFDA has already discussed the truncating of the schedule with the British Fashion Council to coordinate London Fashion Week efforts.

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