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09.03.14

It's Who You Know: The Power Players of New York Fashion Week

Aside from the stellar names of Anna Wintour and Victoria Beckham, New York Fashion Week has a less well known but extremely influential cast list of movers and shakers.

The best-known NYFW power players are extremely well-known: Anna Wintour, Carine Roitfeld, Glenda Bailey among them. But there is a group of less obvious (and in some cases unknown to the general public) influential movers and shakers who make NYFW what it is, and swing. Here they are:

The bloggers / Stephanie Mark & Jake Rosenberg (The Coveteur)

Toronto-based Stephanie Mark and Jake Rosenberg started their blog in 2011 and it was an overnight success with both the public and the fashion press. With gorgeous, captivating photography and impressive styling skills, every day The Coveteur invites its readers into the luxurious closets and lives of editors, stylists, celebrities and models. It’s not a surprise that The Coveteur is now acting as a full-fledged creative agency and is a branding powerhouse in the fashion luxury world. Expect The Coveteur team to report from the major runways and to see Mark and Rosenberg at Tome and fellow Canadian Tanya Taylor’s shows. They will also hit The Coveteur alum Jennifer Fisher’s store opening this week.

The Fashion Editor / Mickey Boardman (PAPER Magazine)

With his quick wit, big personality and sharp tongue, not to mention an incredible eye for fashion and talent, Mickey Boardman has risen from intern to editorial director in his 22-year career at PAPER magazine. He’s famous for discovering new designers and NYFW wouldn’t be complete without him. This week “Mr. Mickey” (as he’s also known) is planning to attend the “Marc Jacobs, Public School, Michael Kors, Suno, Calvin Klein, Azede Jean-Pierre, and Proenza Schouler shows, plus anything at Milk Studios”.

“The Marc Jacobs show where the only song was Bittersweet Symphony—when I imagine what a fashion show in heaven looks like I see that show.”

When asked which was his favorite NYFW show of all times, Boardman said: “I have to say Marc Jacobs—his recent Dr Seuss collection was incredible, the show where Juliette Greco sang Over the Rainbow and Marc came out with Robert Duffy to peel the brown paper off which was covering the set really got me and made me cry. And the Marc show where the only song was Bittersweet Symphony. When I imagine in my head what a fashion show in heaven looks like I see that show. It was just perfect”. 

 The Creative Director / Jenna Lyons (J. Crew)

J. Crew is the only mass retailer that shows at NYFW and Jenna Lyons may as well be the main reason why. Tall, beautiful and incredibly stylish, Lyons has turned the brand image and appeal around in just a few years. She is the queen of juxtaposition: pairing chunky jewelry pieces with plain white shirts, wearing a pencil skirt with bedazzled shoes or an embellished cardigan. Lyons will probably catch a few shows and after parties as well as presenting the new spring ’15 J. Crew collection. Because J. Crew is the only mass retailer that actually creates trends instead of adopting them and has the power to influence and inspire even luxury brands.

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Designer Jenna Lyons poses at the J. Crew Presentation during the Spring 2013 Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week at The Studio at Lincoln Center on September 11, 2012 in New York City. (Mike Coppola/Getty)

The Creative Fashion Hub / Jenné Lombardo, Mazdack Rassi, Keith Baptista (MADE Fashion Week)

Since its inception in 2009, MADE Fashion Week has established itself as the incubator and promoter of cutting-edge fashion designers within NYFW. The trio behind MADE (Jenné Lombardo, Keith Baptista, and Mazdack Rassi) met while working on different projects before joining forces to create MADE. In the past six years they have helped launching the careers of Alexander Wang, Hood by Air and Altuzarra, just to name a few. With an impressive lineup that goes from Gareth Pugh to Cushnie et Ochs and Maison Kitsune this coming week, MADE is guaranteed to deliver some major fashion moments.

The Restaurateur / Jean-Marc Houmard (Indochine, Acme, Bond St. and Tijuana Picnic)

Fashion people do eat, just ask Jean-Marc Houmard, the restaurateur who recently added the word hotelier to his resume (he just opened Tribal Hotel in Granada, Nicaragua). One of the men behind Indochine, Acme and soon to be opened Tijuana Picnic—some of the most loved eateries by the fashion crowd—Houmard’s restaurants are responsible for catering several NYFW dinners and after parties. His work schedule can get frantic, but he tries to make time to attend a few shows like Prabal Gurung, Jason Wu, Chadwick Bell and Ruffian. One of his earlier fashion week memories is seeing the Todd Oldham show in 1992. “It was in a big space on Lafayette next to Indochine: it was truly amazing, the most glam show ever with all the super models from back then: Naomi, Linda, Christy. I have never seen anything like that since then”.

The Retail Fashion Directors / Tomoko Ogura [Barneys], Linda Fargo [Bergdorf Goodman], Ken Downing [Neiman Marcus], Colleen Sherin [Saks], Jeffrey Kalinsky [Nordstrom], Holli Rogers [Net-a-porter)

They will be sitting in the first rows of most NYFW shows, typically unknown to the general public (with the exception of Linda Fargo, who’s raised to the status of fashion icon in the past few years), however they are some of the most important people there. Editors can make or break a designer reputation with their reviews, but ultimately it’s this small group of discerning fashion gurus who have the final word on “who’s in and who’s out”. They have the power to turn a young designer’s career around but every designer is eager to impress them, and for a very good reason: The retail fashion directors decide who and what will be displayed in their beautiful stores next season.

The PR mavens

Libby Haan has been running Haan Projects since 2010 after spending 15 years working in fashion PR for the most exclusive brands. Her boutique agency represents designers like Adam Lippes, Creatures of the Wind and, Schiaparelli, and is one of the New York PR powerhouses along with KCD, HL Group, PR Consulting, Karla Otto, Black Frame, and Paul Wilmot Communications.

If you have ever attended a fashion show in New York, chances are that you confirmed your presence with one of those agencies. They are not only in charge of their clients’ image and press, but when it comes to NYFW, they are organizing the shows from A to Z (which sometimes includes breaking the occasional catfight over a seat assignment). It’s thanks to their dedicated work that VIPs like Lupita Nyong’o, Jared Leto, Rhianna, and Gwyneth Paltrow occupy the front rows at NYFW with all the most important fashion editors.