Awards season may be in full swing, but on Thursday the focus shifts away from the red carpet and onto the runway.
The eight-day interlude will see America's fashion elite kick off the global Fall ready-to-wear week calendar ahead of the world's three other style capitals: London (2/20), Milan (2/25) and Paris (3/3).
The competition is undoubtedly fierce. How can NY compete with London's superb mix of heritage meets off-the-wall style, Milan's bigtime sensuality and acute sense of craftsmanship? Or Paris's undeniable international credibility and newfound knack for reinventing iconic fashion houses that, in the cases of Chanel, Christian Dior and Balmain, is nothing short of world domination?!
While America's top-notch designers have a hard act to follow, they are likely to pack a punch with their Fall 2016 collections. Even though New York is launching a dedicated menswear week in July, some labels (including Duckie Brown and Public School) will uphold the NYFW tradition of combining womenswear and menswear runway shows, which gives New York a slight edge over the other womenswear-focused cities. It is also boasts the record for the world's fullest fashion show week line-up, including nearly 100 shows.
The sheer scale of the event and the money it generates is enough to make anyone "frow" dizzy. Not to mention the media frenzy -- the Big Apple's Mercedes Benz-sponsored fashion event has always been A-lister heaven. This is unlikely to change this season with guaranteed guest appearances from Anna Wintour and Kim, Kanye and North to David Beckham and family. No other fashion week brings together as many drooling babies and people from as many wide-ranging professions.
Oscar de la Renta (February 18) - the first show by new creative director Peter Copping for the brand that embodies American fashion royalty coincides with the opening of the first posthumous exhibit at the SCAD Museum of Art of the late Dominican-born designer, who died of cancer last October. Can Copping top fellow Brit John Galliano's fabulous yet fantastically brief stint at Oscar de la Renta last year? The answer will be revealed on February 18!
Ralph Lauren (10am on Thursday 19) - a firm NYFW favorite; all eyes will be watching the designer who recently unveiled his first restaurant in the city, the new Polo Bar. No prizes for guessing where the show after-party could be...
For a shot of all-American style, pencil in Monday, February 16: the second leg of NYFW starts with a bang with shows from Tommy Hilfiger and Donna Karan (a day after the DKNY show), Carolina Herrera and Pamella Roland.
The Row - 2014 saw former child stars and The Row co-founders Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen celebrate the label's tenth anniversary. Because these celebrity twins do things in twos, watch out for the latest collection for their lower-priced label Elizabeth and James.
This season NYFW is showing some love for its most adored French labels -- Hervé Leger by Max Azria (3pm) and Lacoste (10am), who are unveiling their collections on Valentine's Day. Our money is on a host of heart-filled V-day festivities both on and off the catwalk. BCBGMAXAZRIA will show on Day 1 (Thursday, February 12).
One designer who won't be hitting the runway is Kenneth Cole. The Brooklyn-born designer is organizing a special in-store music event at his Soho boutique with rock group Bon Jovi as the headline act.
For all the details on Kenneth Cole's runway alternative: www.kennethcole.com/family/index.jsp?categoryId=52090126
For NY fashion's all-important diary dates and scheduling, visit: