NEW YORK -- Neither rain nor sleet nor snow -- and Manhattan saw all three, thanks to a major winter storm -- was enough to stop New York Fashion Week from sashaying onward.
Despite a blizzard warning and the threat of more than a foot of snow by Saturday, runway shows and presentations at Lincoln Center, the site of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, went on without cancellations or significant delays.
Organizers prepared by having extra crews on hand to help with cleanup and increased heating to prevent snow buildup on top of the mammoth white tents where the shows are held. By noon Saturday, major arteries in the Big Apple were clear, leaving steep snow piles lining the curbs.
The snow, however, did create some snafus. Several journalists and buyers traveling from out of town arrived late or were no-shows. The New York Times reported that the Lacoste show Saturday morning was slow to fill up, likely due to sloppy commutes. At the Emerson runway show Sunday night, designer Jackie Fraser-Swan's family, traveling from Boston, was late. Public relations notable Kelly Cutrone of People's Revolution (and "America's Next Top Model" fame) asked the audience if it would be OK if the show was delayed until they arrived.
After the storm, the hashtag #nyfwdropout circulated for a while, as those who chose to stay home tweeted about what they were doing instead of attending Fashion Week. One of the biggest impacts the snow had was on street style. "How do you slosh through slushy snow in stilettos?" was the query of the week for many. Lots are still doing it -- carefully -- or swapping their snow boots for Stuart Weitzmans once they arrive. Others, such as designer Michael Kors, opted for Uggs or stylish wellies. Some have even found ways to make the snow trendy by dressing up snowmen outside the tents.
Despite the snow and ice outside, energy and fashions are running hot as Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week enters its sixth day of previewing looks for next fall and winter. It continues through Thursday.
Also of note ...
To show or not to show?: That is the question many designers have been asking these days. For some, the answer is to sit this season out. These designers include Chris Benz, Joy Cioci and Carlos Miele, among others. Their reasons are varied. Mr. Miele decided to showcase his fall/winter line in his native country of Brazil, while designers such as Peter Som are producing digital fashion shows that can be screened online. Others, such as cartwheel queen Betsey Johnson, decided at the last minute to present at the tents.
Flu fear invades Fashion Week: Severe snowfall isn't the only thing that's had organizers and guests worried. Widespread flu this winter has had some concerned Lincoln Center would turn into a hotbed for sickness instead of style. The solution? Bins of Bath & Body Works mini bottles of anti-bacterial hand sanitizers throughout the lobby next to signs that read "Spread love, not germs."
Going animals for fashion: Real animals have popped up on the runway -- and we don't mean in the form of fur coats. Tracy Reese, a favorite of first lady Michelle Obama, had a model walk the runway cradling a cat on a leash, a nod to the designer's partnership with Purina ONE to raise awareness of ways to enrich cats' lives through simple steps such as leash walking. Meanwhile, a model for Joanna Mastroianni toted a Pomeranian during the finale.
Fruit of the vine: The fashion industry has long embraced social media as a way to share practically instant trend updates. In addition to favorites Twitter and Instagram, the recently released Vine, an app that plays six-second video clips on a loop, is rapidly becoming the new way to report from the runway.
Lobby makeover: The large space where guests and media retreat in between shows received a much-needed redo. Although the former lobby was fine, offering magazines, a small cafe, charging stations for electronics and booths for sponsors to promote their products, it had grown predictable and pedestrian. The new layout maximizes the space with two tiers of activities, lounges and more.
Star gazing: It wouldn't be Fashion Week without the "Where's Waldo?" game of star spotting. Some celebs who've dotted the front row so far have included Martha Stewart, Chelsea Handler, Brooke Shields and Angela Bassett.
For more from PG fashion writer Sara Bauknecht at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, check out her new blog Stylebook at post-gazette.com/stylebook. Follow her on Twitter @SaraB_PG. To have a style or fashion event considered for Stylebook, send listing to Sara Bauknecht at email@example.com. First Published February 12, 2013 5:00 AM