If DVF and Michael Kors Go, What’s Going to Happen to the Tents at Lincoln Center?

Diane Von Furstenberg on the runway

One of fashion’s most progressive forces, Diane Von Furstenberg (yes that’s Google Glass, on the runway), seems to be progressing away from Lincoln Center.

It’s fashion’s own version of dealing with rampant inequality.  The tents at Lincoln Center, the site of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, faced complaints last season about high prices, overcrowding, and general disorganization.  While organizers pledged to improve conditions (not that pricing will necessarily get cheaper), a few downtown competitors are popping up and appealing to increasingly prominent players.

There’s MADE at Milk Studios, the most established alternate show site.  Fashion incubator Manufacture New York is working with Adorama to sponsor Launch NYC, another show site this February holding a full week of presentations.   And Launch NYC will occupy a space in the Flatiron District, reasonably convenient to MADE.

For the shows next month, there are some big surprises embracing off-site opportunities.  Rumors that Diane von Furstenberg and Michael Kors would de-camp from the tents (no pun intended) are proving true, with both designers reportedly moving to Tribeca’s Spring Studios next month, even further afield from Lincoln Center.  And Vera Wang is also moving out of Lincoln Center, to present her show at a Dia arts space in Chelsea.

For fledgling designers without the funds to back it, moving out of the tents — or never showing there in the first place — comes as no surprise.  But with big names going elsewhere, the paradigm shifts.  Are designers changing the face of establishment Fashion Week faster than it can change itself?

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