Cities on the Fashion Week Honor Roll

Here’s a look at Fashion Week history and highlights from the fall 2014 shows.

Designers working on designs for fashion weekDuring various Fashion Weeks, all eyes in the industry turn to the international fashion capitals—New York City, London, Milan, Paris and Berlin—to see the newest styles.

In a nonstop parade of parties and runway shows, the hottest designers preview their upcoming season’s collections for journalists, fashion buyers, celebrities and fashionistas.

It’s also a chance for fashion designers to take notes, critique trends and find models who show off their work the best.

Fashion Weeks are held twice a year, usually in February and September, to showcase the spring/summer and fall/winter collections.

New York kicks off the Fashion Weeks, with London, Milan and Paris hot on its high heels. Berlin, a newer entry, gets a head start in July before the shows of the other “big four” cities.

Spring/Summer 2015 Collection Highlights

Here’s what some of the world’s top designers previewed on the runways and what fashionistas can expect to find in the stores come spring 2015.

New York Fashion Week
2015 will see us sporting wedge sneakers, biker jackets, patchwork pleats, shiny trench coats, steampunk-inspired clothing—and Britney Spears’ line of intimate wear. On our wish list: Intel’s blinged-out cuff bracelet lets you get texts and calendar alerts.

London Fashion Week
Khakis in sleek and modern shapes, sharp collars, capes and sailor chic jewelry will hit stores come spring. What inspired this year’s designers? Architecture, endangered species, vintage American cigarette cards, lava flows, vintage nursing uniforms and zebra/horse hybrids—whoa! Conscientious clothing was at the top of mind for designers who promoted fair-trade practices and the use of organic and recycled materials.

Milan Fashion Week
The collections may be for 2015, but top designers set their collections for the Wayback Machine. Max Mara fell back on black-and-white retro prints. Gucci resurrected the ’70s with suede, faded denim and halter dresses, and Versace’s collection had a futurist look, but its sparkly miniskirts and tunics were more reminiscent of the 1960s space-age trend.

Paris Fashion Week
Stella McCartney’s ultra-feminine designs featured delicate fabrics, silk slip dresses and pastel gingham silk dresses. Balenciaga presented a minimalist palette of black, white and pale pastels—hardly colors for spring and summer. Dries Van Noten created a hippy chic vibe with rainbow fringe, bra tops and marijuana-leaf themes. Jean-Paul Gaultier said au revoir to his ready-to-wear line and will focus exclusively on fragrances and haute couture.

History of Fashion Week

Initially called Press Week, Fashion Week began in New York City in 1943. During World War II, the fashion shows of Paris were canceled because of Nazi occupation making it impossible for U.S. journalists to travel to France for fashion inspiration. Without the influence of French-designed creations, who would American fashion designers turn to?

Enter Eleanor Lambert, a fashion publicist who saw the opportunity to promote the work of American designers. Lambert invited the media to Press Week in New York as an efficient way for journalists to see the best of the best in one place at one time. This was a chance for American designers to showcase their innovations, gain international attention and thus divert attention from Paris.

Fashion Week Fun Facts

New York Fashion Week

  • Home of the original Fashion Week, which was founded in 1943
  • The first of the “big four” Fashion Weeks held every February and September
  • Outgrew “the tents” of Manhattan’s Bryant Park and moved to the Lincoln Center for Performing Arts in 2010

London Fashion Week

  • Founded in 1984
  • Organized by the British Fashion Council
  • Immediately follows New York Fashion Week
  • Held in Somerset House
  • First major show to live stream the event
  • Introduced men’s collections in 2012
  • With more than 5,000 press and buyers in attendance, exceeds coverage of most major news and worldwide sports events

Milan Fashion Week

  • Founded in 1958
  • Organized by the National Chamber for Italian Fashion
  • Immediately follows London Fashion Week
  • Exhibiting designers have included luxury Italian designers Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci, Versace and Prada

Paris Fashion Week

  • Founded in 1973
  • Organized by the French Fashion Federation
  • Hosts the finale of the “big four” Fashion Weeks
  • Held in Carrousel du Louvre
  • Showcases the major designers’ collections, including top French designers Chanel, Givenchy and Christian Dior
  • Previews haute couture, which is only allowed to be shown in Paris, earlier in the year and exhibits ready-to-wear collections during Fashion Week

Berlin Fashion Week

  • Founded in 2007
  • Held in January and July before the “big four”
  • Highlights trends in ecological and sustainable fashion
  • Promotes fair-trade practices

Sources: Slate, Savoirflaire, What Paris, Time, London Fashion Week, British Fashion Council, Milan Fashion Week, Fashion Week Berlin, Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, NY Daily News, PC World, Houston Chronicle, The Guardian, The New York Times, Huffington Post, The Guardian, The Telegraph.Co.UK.

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