Countdown to Fashion Week: Milk vs. Bryant Park

With New York fashion week a little over a month away, a rivalry is already building between the long-standing geographic focal point of Bryant Park and the upstart lineup brewing at M.A.C.-sponsored Milk Studios downtown.

After more than a few rumors began to fly that a the cosmetics giant was planning a separate fashion week venue for September, M.A.C. recently made it official, announcing a separate (but not competitive!) schedule for fashion week at Chelsea's massive Milk Studios that included prominent New York talent like Proenza Schouler, Alexander Wang, Vena Cava, Peter Som, Band of Outsiders, Preen, and Erin Fetherson.The latest addition to the roster may have come last week when Confessions of a Casting Director leaked that up-and-comer Gareth Pugh will show downtown as well. KCD will be producing the various events.

The more established labels -- think Diane von Furstenberg, Anna Sui, Max Azria, and Michael Kors -- will most likely remain faithful uptowners, which is shaping up to create something of an uptown vs. downtown divide. While both organizers have insisted the venues are not in competition with each other, Milk's lineup certainly has the cooler, downtown indie vibe, and we have little doubt that the front row will reflect that.

Some anxiety is already brewing among fashion insiders who aren't sure how they'll manage to cover everything this year, facing a relentless shuttling between Midtown and Chelsea to make sure all the runways are covered. Especially in this age of media cutbacks, we're betting many fashionistas (and their superiors) are worried about the soaring taxi cab expenses, which will no doubt soar even higher once the fashion week blitz moves to Lincoln Center in 2010 ...

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