Wednesday, April 15, 2015

In the Market Report: West Side Story


Hudson Yards - the future home of New York Fashion Week

New York Fashion Week will eventually have a permanent home at the Culture Shed at Hudson Yards. Located on the far west side of Manhattan facing the Hudson, it’s where everything seems to be happening these days. But while this won’t be a reality until 2018, it’s finally been confirmed that beginning this September, NYFW will have two new (well, not exactly new) temporary locations, and unsurprisingly, they are also on Manhattan’s West Side. Yes, it IS a "West Side Story".


Skylight Clarkson Square

Skylight at Moynihan Station (Midtown West), and Skylight Clarkson Square. (Soho West), have both been used for fashion shows and other high profile fashion and art related events in the past. Skylight Clarkson Square, located at 550 Washington Street (between Houston and Spring Streets), has been Ralph Lauren’s venue of choice for many seasons now, Kanye West used it to stage his Adidas collaboration this past February, and it will be home to the first Men’s Fashion Week in July. Its commercial, warehouse locale may not be especially glamorous, but once you get inside, it’s been completely transformed. In addition, it is close to hip and happening Tribeca and Soho, it’s also relatively near the popular Spring Studios on Varick Street, where Calvin Klein, Michael Kors, Altuzarra, and Diane Von Furstenberg have been showing these last few years. And, it’s not too far from 1 World Trade, which is now home to Conde Nast. (Though, it’s not as close as Bryant Park was to their old offices at 4 Times Square, where, back in the day, editors enjoyed an enviable two block walk to and from the shows).


Skylight at Moynihan Station 

Moynihan Station, the former post office, is an iconic Beaux Arts structure designed by McKim, Mead & White in 1912 but its location, at 33rd Street and 8th Avenue, is not only decidedly unglamourous, but rather seedy. It’s a far cry from the elegant cultural epicenter of Manhattan: Lincoln Center. That being said, on the plus side, it boasts a relatively centralized location, and with its relatively close proximity to public transportation, as well as the Garment Center, it is geographically desirable and appealing. You can look at it this way: while you won’t be able to walk out the door and head straight to the ballet or opera (as you could when some of the shows were held at Lincoln Center), now you will be able to buy stamps, and mail letters and packages LOL.

Of course, like every other season, many designers (including some of the most highly influential of the group) will still opt to do their own thing, and show away from the centralized spaces. While most will still show somewhere on the west side of town (the galleries in West Chelsea, the IOC Building for example), several designers will buck the trend and continue to show on the Upper East Side. The Park Avenue Armory on Park Avenue between 66th and 67th Streets is favored by both Tommy Hilfiger and Marc Jacobs, whose show officially closes the week. And Karl Lagerfeld staged his recent pre-fall 2015 extravaganza runway show there as well.

It goes without saying that it would make the most sense if the shows could be scheduled as intelligently as possible, factoring in location, and trying, where possible, to find alternative venues near Skylight Moynihan and Skylight Clarkson Square to minimize having to run back and forth and up and down. While I’m not a big fan of Spring Studios (because I resent having to crowd into a small elevator with dozens of others, and possibly get stuck in that elevator, in order to get into and out of a show), it is in close proximity to Skylight Clarkson Square.


Delpozo Spring 2014 show held at Location 05 Studios

Speaking of which, I have a few suggestions for spaces that I think are under used, and make sense from a logistical and geographical point of view (they are close to Moynihan, and are easy to get in and out of quickly and efficiently). Location 05 at 205 West 34th Street, www.location05.com, 212 219 2144, is a photo studio, location rental, meeting venue, and event space. (I attended Delpozo’s Spring 2014 show there last September). It is quite large, gets excellent light, has a huge freight elevator which takes guests up to the second floor, and there is easy access to stairs.


SIR Stage 37

SIR Stage 37, (www.stage37events.com), at 508 West 37th Street, opened in 2009 and thanks to its clean, modern, contemporary feel, has been a favorite of Narciso Rodriguez for the last few years. Billed as a “flexible event and performance space”, it is located just one block from the Javits Center.


Baryshnikov Arts Center     

I also like Baryshnikov Arts Center (BAC) located at 450 West 37th Street just a few blocks from the northern end of the High Line (www.bacnyc.org), 212 731 3225, 212 731 3200). The foundation and arts complex, opened by Mikhail Baryshnikov in 2005, offers space and production facilities for dance, music, theatre, design, and visual arts. The building itself, a 50,000 square foot complex, includes three theatre spaces (I attended a Josie Natori Fall 2014 show there). The building also houses the Orchestra of St. Luke’s DiMenna Center for Classical Music.  While it’s not exactly Lincoln Center, it does have that cultural connection to the arts.

And finally, while I’ve made note of the fact that it’s all about heading West: (“Go West Young Man”, and woman), let’s hope more fashion designers don’t decide to follow Tom Ford’s lead, and actually head WAY out West to Hollywood (he presented his fall 2015 collection in Los Angeles just days before the Academy Awards). That being said, Dior’s Raf Simons, who was to show his Resort 2016 collection in Los Angeles on May 9, has instead, decided upon the French Riviera on May 11th (just in time for the Cannes Film Festival).




- Marilyn Kirschner


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