The fashion crowd will be busy when New York Fashion Week begins on September 8. The week of runway shows-anticipated to be mostly in person-will culminate with an intimate Met gala to celebrate the Costume Institute’s “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion” hosted by Timothée Chalamet, Billie Eilish, Amanda Gorman, and Naomi Osaka. But before the event, NYFW will bring some of American fashion’s biggest names back to the city’s official Fashion Week.
Telfar, Rodarte, Proenza Schouler, Altuzarra, Brandon Maxwell, Prabal Gurung, Sergio Hudson, Monse, Jason Wu, LaQuan Smith, and Markarian will all present collections as a part of NYFW: The Shows, the Fashion Week programming organized by IMG and sponsored by Afterpay. With the support of IMG, the 11 brands are also forming the Fashion Alliance; as a group, the brands are committing to presenting their collections at NYFW for three seasons, starting this September and running through 2022—and no, it won’t all be at Spring Studios, though that location will remain a hub. Instead, you might expect Rodarte’s Kate and Laura Mulleavy to set up in an elaborate church, Proenza Schouler to take over an art gallery, or Telfar to organize a dinner or party. “This partnership to me represents the best of what I love about our community, coming together collectively to bring joy to so many people,” says Brandon Maxwell. “I look forward to showing my collection in September and, most importantly, celebrating the work of my friends.”
The feeling is mutual. Rodarte’s Laura Mulleavy continues, “As designers showing in NYC, we are honored to be able to participate in an incredible community of creativity that inspires us to be our best.”
Backstage at Brandon Maxwell’s fall 2020 show Photographed by Corey Tenold
The Fashion Alliance is a rare show of industry support for mid-career American designers-though it’s not alone. After the pandemic put hundreds of established fashion businesses at risk, young designer prizes around the world, from France’s ANDAM prize to the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund, pivoted to create grants to help brands stay afloat. IMG’s Fashion Alliance, says IMG president of fashion events and properties Leslie Russo, will support each participating brand with investment, content, and talent, as well as “the full power of the Endeavor network behind them.” (Endeavor, which owns IMG, just went public with a valuation of $10 billion and includes businesses like the WME talent agency and IMG models.)
It’s not just these 11 brands returning to American soil. Brands traditionally showing in Europe are also setting their sights on New York. Peter Dundas, who recently dressed H.E.R. for the Academy Awards, will present his spring 2022 collection for Revolve at NYFW. “I started my fashion story in New York going to Parsons for my education,” Dundas explains. “I love the city and its pace, and this year, September feels especially like the return of fashion, so showing in New York feels perfect. There is a unique energy about American fashion that combines practicality and glamour, which I love. At its best, it perfectly blends dreams and functionality and connects us with [the] current youth culture, which I think we all aspire to do in our collections.”
Thom Browne, who has shown his menswear and womenswear collections in Paris for several years, will also bring his beautiful spectacle of fashion and craft stateside this September. “I wanted to return to New York because I wanted to support the important show that Andrew is creating,” Browne tells me, referring to the Costume Institute exhibition curated by his partner, Andrew Bolton, the Wendy Yu curator in charge of the Costume Institute. “Also, I have always been so proud to be an American designer.”
Pyer Moss is returning to NYFW after a two-year pause on showing collections-but that won’t be Kerby Jean-Raymond’s first show of 2021. He has been announced as a guest member of the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture et de la Mode and is expected to present a collection at Paris’s Couture Week in July.
With the Met gala celebrating American talents, well, let’s just say more homegrown designers are expected to make appearances at NYFW. Take it from Tom Ford, whose spring 2022 collection will be shown during NYFW and who will cochair the Met gala: “New York Fashion Week is always a celebration of American fashion, but this will take on a whole new meaning in September. After two challenging seasons with no in-person gatherings, we anticipate a significant return to live shows. This season’s shows are an opportunity to reaffirm the resilience and independence of American fashion and New York City as a global fashion force,” he wrote in a letter to the Council of Fashion Designers of America. “Together, our talent and united front give American fashion its unique character and strength.”