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For better or worse, Fashion Week is no longer the exclusive stomping grounds of top-tier brands and well-heeled editors. Personal style bloggers now mingle with industry veterans. Old-fashioned brands embrace social media. Outrageously dressed street style stars and celebrities get as much attention as designers. Ryan Lochte landed a gig as a Fashion Week reporter.
And for a while, it seemed as though this was a new, inclusive stage in Fashion Week's evolution, that the famously exclusive industry was embracing democracy. But when the floodgates opened, along with the talented outsiders came plenty of C-listers and stunt artists. Additionally, respected brands began to search for innovative ways to entertain an audience of non-industry folk. In some cases, this works well (the Man Repeller's MC-ing of Marc Jacobs' last show was a great success, for example). In some cases, less so.
So now that everyone from the cast of Real Housewives to Minnie Mouse has had their five minutes of Fashion Week fame, has Fashion Week's cool factor peaked?
The upcoming Fall/Winter 2013 shows in New York especially are falling under scrutiny, as many veteran designers have opted to withdraw from the event this season. Erin Fetherston is among those, and explained to us us the current NYFW format was less than ideal for the goals of her brand. "The Fashion Week schedule becomes more and more busy each season and it's always a challenge to achieve quality time in the controlled chaos of a show or presentation. Opting for showroom appointments this season will allow us to meet with editors and buyers in a more intimate setting, where they can spend time with the collection up close," she said.
The Fashion Week calendar does seem to be include plenty of stunts with a questionable link to Fashion Week... or fashion, for that matter. Below, 21 events that make a decent case that Fashion Week has jumped the shark.
· Betsey Johnson lost her label last year, but she is still getting a show.
· It's sponsored by her reality TV show network.
· Smurfette is also getting a show this season. Yes, that Smurfette.
· Carmen Electra will be hosting an off-site presentation for YARNZ at CONAIR STYLE360.
· The New Yorkie Celebrity Doggie Fashion Show is happening this season.
· For the third time.
· Also on the pet theme, Glamour magazine is hosting a cat-themed pop-up shop.
· And speaking of stunts, Band of Outsiders is foregoing a runway show in favor of a scavenger hunt.
· Or, you could watch competing fashion 'hackathons' go down.
· Meanwhile, lovable, pink-haired, Obama-endorsed favorite Chris Benz is sitting the season out.
· So is Rachel Roy.
· So is Erin Fetherston.
· So is Peter Som.
· And it's not just contemporary mid-range designers. Long-time NYFW veterans Joy Cioci, Yoana Baraschi, and Carlos Miele are also sitting the season out.
· On the other hand, declining brand Kenneth Cole chose this year to make their NYFW comeback.
· And revered designer Carolina Herrera is partnering with Harper's BAZAAR and American Express on a "shoppable" show exclusively for American Express card members, officially departing from the exclusive realm of the industry-insider and making the show a commerce occasion.
· Across the Atlantic, Alexander McQueen announced they too will skipping the Paris Fashion Week runway this season.
· Along with Cacharel.
· But H&M is showing. In Paris. At the Rodin Museum, where Christian Dior and Yves St Laurent used to show.
· 5 Things You Can Expect To See This Fashion Week [Racked]