New York Fashion Week is starting to resemble Super Bowl week. Just as football is almost an afterthought during the week leading up to the NFL’s big game, so it is that designers showing off their latest wares for the marketplace are a minuscule part of the NYFW proceedings.
It was not so long ago that IMG and their chief corporate sponsor, Mercedes-Benz, were synonymous with Fashion Week, particularly when Bryant Park was the epicenter of the action. Since IMG moved their tent uptown to Lincoln Center, they have lost some of their mojo.
IMG and Mercedes-Benz used to give out vouchers for sizable goody bags to journalists when they would pick up their credentials. That perk ended over a year ago. IMG however still demands that outlets pay $80 per credential. The end result is that a lot of writers who used to refer to the semi-annual big week in the New York couture biz as Mercedes-Benz Week now call it New York Fashion Week. Frankly, I can’t blame them.
This has certainly delighted a bevy of corporations who want to be identified with the latest in style but did not want to pay IMG’s asking price for the honor of showing their goods at Lincoln Center.
Not that anyone has to hold a fund-raiser for IMG. They were still able to hold onto such long-time sponsors as DHL, Fiber One snack bars, Maybelline, TREsemme and American Express. The credit card/financial services company nicely offered complimentary organic juices and bags of dried fruit to visitors to the big tent at Lincoln Center.
Whitestone-based Glaceau cut a deal with IMG to have Smartwater replace Diet Pepsi as the official beverage. Among the other new exhibitors on 62nd and Columbus were creative greeting card manufacturer, Papyrus, electronics giant Samsung, and cable’s Style Network.
The Daily Front Row is the oversized glossy that is printed just for Fashion Week. The DFR, which to its immense credit covers Fashion Week with a much needed sense of humor, celebrated its tenth anniversary with both a bash at the Hudson Hotel and by hosting the two-day Daily Style Sessions at the chic Stone Rose Lounge at Columbus Circle’s Time Warner Center.
The Daily Style Session had a more varied mix of corporate exhibitors than IMG had at Lincoln Center. Former Bravo reality star Jill Zarin showcased her line of jewelry, while Flutter, an optical company, was displaying its line of fashionable reading glasses. It was one of the rare times at Fashion Week where an older demographic was recognized.
Food and drink were a big part of the Daily Style Sessions. Yoplait Yogurt smartly used the event as a way of launching its 100- calorie Greek yogurt line, while Lyfe Kitchen, an L.A.-based high quality frozen meals purveyor gave out samples of its soups and entrees.
Coconut water has become a popular drink because it’s not very caloric and yet is very tasty. Vita Coco is the Coca-Cola of the industry and it wants to say that way. That’s why they are a New York Fashion Week fixture as the company freely gave out sample containers of its various flavors.
Robyn Youkilis, whose first cousin is new Yankees third baseman Kevin Youkilis, is a well-known nutritionist and she was promoting her Bella Nutripro juicer by letting guests try vegetable tonics she prepared using it. For those wanting a little alcohol, Disaronno-based cocktails were served.
The Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau hired a pair of massage therapists to give complimentary ten-minute sessions for attendees. The Miami CVB was smartly promoting the fact that many of its spas give great discounts during Summer when tourism slows down there.
Nolcha, a company that promotes smaller designers, held its lounge at Yotel, the hip hotel just on the periphery of Times Square at 42nd Street and 10th Avenue. Among the brands that were present were Kind snack bars, Foco coconut water (it seems like every week there is a new coconut water company), and Rusk hair care products. HOH Watches, a company that makes high quality timepieces at affordable prices, and was founded by Forest Hills High School alum Lawrence Leyderman, also had a booth at Nolcha.
Even technology companies capitalized on New York Fashion Week. Both Dell and Hewlett-Packard took over suites at Lincoln Center’s Empire Hotel to show visitors their latest line of laptops whose screens could be detached and used as tablets. H-P also threw a party honoring the cast of Lifetime’s “Project Runway,” whose designers use their laptops.
Duracell’s Powermat is a flat charging device that can refresh batteries for numerous “smart phones” at once. A company spokesman said that it would have a new Powermat in April that will be able to charge Apple’s iPhone 5.
In this age of full-service Internet shopping websites such as Amazon and Ideeli.com, it makes sense that there should be a site dedicated to selling luxury goods at prices well below most brick and mortar retailers. LXR.com executives were at the Empire Hotel to explain how they are able to sell slightly used or imperfect upscale products at bargain prices.