Twice a year, designers produce fashion shows in New York to show off their latest collections. The most recent show was in September 2009 for Spring 2010 and the next show is in February. The Fashion Week fall shows are held the preceding winter (February). The spring shows are held the preceding late summer (September).
Currently, the shows are sponsored by Mercedes-Benz so they are referred to as Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. in the past, they've been referred to by other sponsors such as Olympus Fashion Week. The attendees (right) are often as famous as the designers like Ralph Lauren, Donna Karen, Diane von Furstenburg and Oscar de la Renta.
In New York City's Bryant Park (42nd and Sixth), the 8-acre park is converted to a temporary fashion arena with tents. The Fashion Week tents are huge, air-conditioned and contain several venues for the designers to show their collections. The individual venues -- ranging up to almost 12,000 square feet -- come complete with runway, seating for attendees, backstage areas, lighting and sound. Some fashion designers choose to have their collections shown in showrooms or other off-site venues during the week.
Fashion shows are attended by journalists, editors, buyers, celebrities and social types. The Fashion Week shows are invitation-only and each fashion designer is responsible for the guest list. Journalists must seek accreditation prior to the event.
Fashion Week is an opportunity for American (and a few international) designers, ranging from Oscar de la Renta to Zac Posen, to show off their upcoming collections. The fashion shows are often entertaining, accompanied by loud, mood-setting music and changing lighting. The press writes about and photographs the runway collections for newspapers, magazines, internet and television so the general public can see what is going on in fashion.