The spring 2015 runway show season officially kicks off Thursday in New York with more than 200 shows and presentations. In addition to all the usual front-row suspects (will any U.S. Open players make cameos?), head-scratching event sponsorships (Rogaine?) and street style shenanigans, there are a few notable themes to look out for.
Magazines up their presence
Vogue, InStyle, Bon Appetit, Essence, Paper, Elle and Glamour are all trying to grab attention and social media shares by hosting big anniversary bashes, opening pop-up shops or launching their own branded capsule collections during fashion week. But Harpers Bazaar's celebration of its global fashion director Carine Roitfeld may take the cake. A black-tie affair, it's being held at the Plaza Hotel with September cover girl Lady Gaga scheduled to perform jazzy songs in support of her forthcoming album with Tony Bennett.
Menswear tries to carve out a niche
In recent years, Calvin Klein, John Varvatos, Thom Browne and other big name American designers have shown their men's collections on the runways in Europe, the center of the international buying market for designer menswear. Meanwhile, up-and-coming menswear brands show during the women's collections at New York Fashion Week to gain media exposure, albeit at the tail end of the men's buying season. There seems to be movement afoot to change all this and create a cohesive slate of menswear shows on home turf. The first steps include the relatively new men's day at Industria Superstudios featuring presentations by the likes of David Hart, Gent and J. Lindeberg. Meanwhile, men's magazine Esquire is also holding a three-day event this season featuring presentations by Haspel, Proper Cloth and others.
Celebrities go head to head
Taking advantage of fashion week's buzz-building potential are not one but two of the coaches joining NBC's "The Voice" when it returns to TV on Sept. 22: Pharrell Williams and Gwen Stefani. Scheduled for the same fashion week time slot on Friday (so much for calendar coordination), Williams will be showing his G-Star Raw for the Oceans collection on Wall Street, while Stefani returns to fashion week with a presentation of her L.A.M.B. line in Chelsea. Speaking of celebs, Britney Spears' the Intimate lingerie collection will be unveiled at an event Sept. 9 at the New York Public Library, the same afternoon that Serena Williams serves up her HSN collection.
Entertainment meets fashion
Fashion is ripe for many formats. This season, the television special "Fashion Rocks" returns on Sept. 9, with performances by J.Lo, Nicki Minaj and others celebrating the synergy between fashion and music. The event, scheduled to air at 9 p.m. on CBS, will be hosted by Ryan Seacrest. No word on whether he will wear his new Distinction clothing line, which is exclusive to Macy's, but it's a pretty good bet. In addition, indie label and retailer Opening Ceremony, which always goes its own way, is slated to present its spring collection not in a runway show format, but worn by actors in a one-act play written by Spike Jonze and Jonah Hill. And avant-garde British designer Gareth Pugh crosses the pond to disrupt fashion week with a live performance involving video and dancers at Pier 36's Basketball City.
Technology meets the runway
Diane Von Furstenberg worked with Google Glass on a collection of optical glasses and sunglasses for Net-a-porter in June. Then Tory Burch launched a series of accessories designed to synch with fitness tracker Fitbit. Last week, Ralph Lauren introduced a smart shirt at the U.S. Open. And designer Rebecca Minkoff plans to show tech accessories, including wristlets and mobile chargers made with Case-Mate, on the runway at her spring show. No doubt about it, wearable technology is a trend. But will any of it be fashionable enough to make it worth buying?