For the first time in 18 months, fashionistas will be strutting all over New York this week.
New York Fashion Week shows will be held at Battery Park, the Rainbow Room, the streets of Soho, and the Brooklyn Navy Yard, among dozens of other locations, attracting the usual crowd of influencers, leggy models, celebrities, and the press.
The pandemic will dictate everything from crowd and party sizes to how models’ hair and makeup are done, so it will be a far more subdued affair than in previous years.
The five-day event, which begins Sept. 8 and typically draws 230,000 visitors and generates $532 million in visitor spending, will be about half the size it usually is as organizers work to ensure that the event is appropriate for the times.
That means most shows will have between 150 and 200 attendees, rather than the 500 or more seen in the past, and the majority of the audience will be industry professionals rather than friends and fans of the designer. The international press, buyers, and models, some of whom are subject to the US travel ban, will also be absent.
“NYFW is not roaring back as hoped, but rather tiptoeing tentatively around the Delta variant, with a fair number of shows staying digital-only, and travel hesitancy and restrictions limiting attendance,” Fashion Law Institute founder and director Susan Scafidi told The Post.
Indeed, nearly a quarter of the 119 shows on the official calendar are digital-only, including Nicole Miller and Oscar de la Renta. Of course, there are a lot of shows that aren’t on the calendar, but the designers who have decided not to produce a seated event reflect the apprehension some people have about investing in a pricey runway event against the backdrop of an ongoing pandemic.
Attendees must also show proof of vaccination by downloading the Clear Health Pass app, though paper CDC vaccination cards will suffice in an emergency.
A check-in representative who scans invitation bar codes will simply add the vaccination check to the process, and attendees who do not have proof of vaccination will be asked to leave. According to IMG, the show’s producer, masks will be “strongly” encouraged.
IMG isn’t dictating where people sit or how close they are to one another — no decals like those found in supermarkets telling shoppers which way to walk and where to stand — but it is limiting the number of people who can attend the shows.
“We recognize that we are not fully out of the pandemic and the designers told us they wanted to host between 150- and 200-person shows,” in the same large spaces used previously, Georgi Versi, IMG’s head of production at NYFW’s central hub, Spring Studios, told The Post.