Haute History: A Look at How NYFW Came to Be

New York City. It’s recognized today as one of the fashion capitals of the world, but it hasn’t always been so revered in the eyes of the fashion industry. In fact, for decades, American fashion took a backseat to French couture. So, what changed? Below, we take a look at how history affected the fate of New York’s runways.

History of NYFW

The year was 1943, and World War II was well underway. Nazi Germany’s occupation of France created a major roadblock for American journalists hoping to attend runway shows held in Paris. So, prominent fashion publicist Eleanor Lambert stepped in.

Seeking to resolve all the travel turmoil, Lambert organized a showcase of American designers in New York and invited journalists to attend in lieu of their canceled trips to France.

The result was what Lambert called “Press Week.” A silver lining for everyone in the industry, Press Week gave domestic designers the attention they deserved and reporters the front-row seats they craved.

Having acquired new sponsors, Press Week has since changed its name to Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week and is now recognized among the ranks of shows in London, Milan, and yes – even Paris.

By Jillian Hudon, Staff Writer

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February 4, 2014