nyc-fashionThe twice-yearly style orgy that is New York Fashion Week kicked off yesterday when the booted and suited may have to sidestep thunderstorms to catch sight of collections for spring-summer 2016. Hollywood stars, buyers and fashion editors from across the planet descend on Gotham to admire the most coveted talent in US design dominated by the likes of Ralph Lauren and Tommy Hilfiger. New York puts the first spin on the merry-go-round that is the new fashion season, followed by turns in London, Paris and Milan.

While Paris reigns supreme in the couture stakes, New York is flush with cash. Fashion is a multi-billion-dollar industry, and Fashion Week brings with it about $547 million in direct spending. Here’s what you need to know for the 300 shows in the week ahead before the juggernaut shifts across the Atlantic:

From Paris with love
French fashion giant Givenchy is unveiling a ready-to-wear collection for the first time in New York, and on September 11 — the 14th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. Serbian performance artist Marina Abramovic, known for pushing boundaries, is putting the event together with designer Riccardo Tisci, a favorite of power couple Kim Kardashian and Kanye West. The theme will be “Celebration of Love” and it will also mark fashion director Tisci’s 10 years producing men’s and women’s collection for Givenchy, part of the LVMH luxury goods stable.

Common people
Givenchy is giving out nearly 1,000 tickets for ordinary people who sign up
online in an attempt to broaden its appeal beyond the narrow corridors of fashionista power.

New name, new venue
Fashion Week has ditched Lincoln Center and its Mercedes-Benz sponsors to move downtown-to Moynihan Station on West 33rd Street and Clarkson Square in SoHo. It has also changed its name. It is “Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week” no longer and now simply “New York Fashion Week: the shows.”

Men dumped
The schedule has been streamlined. Men’s shows have been axed in favor of a men’s fashion week, held in July. The official calendar lists 308 runway shows, presentations and private events compared to 362 last season.

Beautiful disability
Madeline Stuart, an 18-year-old aspiring model from Australia with Down’s Syndrome is taking part in a show organized on Sunday by FTL MODA, which partners with the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation to help models with disabilities. Rebekah Marine, a 28-year-old American with an artificial arm, is also taking part.

Tennis ace
Tennis champion Serena Williams, on course to complete the first calendar-year Grand Slam since 1988 at this weekend’s US Open finals, will show her Signature Statement collection on Tuesday.

Birthdays
Superstar designer Alexander Wang celebrates his 10th anniversary. Fashion house Herve Leger, creator of the “body-con” dress, is celebrating 30 years in the business.

First timers
The debut of Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne at DKNY, taking over from brand founder Donna Karan, is hotly anticipated.

Out with the old
Karan has shut down the Donna Karan Collection, and Marc Jacobs has folded his spinoff line Marc into his Marc Jacobs Collection, which as per usual will be the last show of the week. The Row, run by the Olsen twins of “Full House” fame, will also be absent, having chosen to show in Paris.

Hot talent
The big names to watch are Wang, Jacobs, Hilfiger, Lauren, Jason Wu, Calvin Klein, Givenchy, Diane Von Furstenberg, Prabal Gurung, Vera Wang, Michael Kors and Victoria Beckham.

Racism, policing and politics
Designer Kerby Jean-Raymond, the founder of menswear label Pyer Moss, debuts his womenswear collection alongside a video asking people to discuss racism and police tactics, one of the biggest social and political issues in contemporary America.-AFP