Countdown to Fashion Week: Invitations Go Out

Thread NY

Fashion Week is officially under a month away; In our Countdown to Fashion Week, we examine what designers and insiders are working on this week.

Designers are under the wire this week with just under two weeks till New York fashion week kicks off. As such, it may seem surprising that, with such little time left, Fashion Week invitations have just started to go out for the Spring 2012 shows -- both hard and electronic invitations. Some fashion houses even choose to wait until they have received their guests RSVPs before they send out invitations -- dispatching them just days before their shows -- so they can also include seat assignments on the invites.

Elie Tahari’s Public Relations Director Leah Jacobson describes where she is in the process: “Invites went out today, [and I’m] finalizing the last international lists as editors are still finalizing travel plans. Hoping to have by Monday. RSVP count is already a few hundred!”
Luckily, most designer's public relations teams are using some form of technology like Fashion GPS to streamline the invitation and RSVP process, though many choose to send out hard copy invites on top of electronic invites to attract attention and convey the mood of their upcoming shows. There are even some fashion houses -- like Ralph Lauren -- who still exclusively send out hard invites.  
And in the era of the electronic invitation, Fashion Week hard invitations have become increasingly creative, with some even garnering their own press -- like Rachel Antonoff’s quirky prom themed invite from her last season’s show -- which captured the attention of a number of bloggers. Antonoff, who has already started to collect RSVPs, is having her invitations go out some time next week. “I want to bring people into a world and create something editorial and dreamy,” she says of why she chooses to spend the time sending out hard invites. Gathering her friends and family to stuff envelopes has become a semi-annual tradition for the designer.
As to who actually ends up scoring these coveted fashion week invites, there are magazine editors, newspaper reporters, bloggers, buyers, fashion show sponsors and their guests and friends and family to account for. Celebrities -- some of whom are friends with the designer, some of whom are fans, and some of whom are quite simply paid to attend -- also make the cut.
Who designers choose to invite to their shows can vary dramatically: Charlotte Ronson, for instance, has a large Japanese fan base and her guest list reflects this. Cynthia Rowley, married to art gallerist Bill Powers, always has art influencers in her crowd including Richard Phillips and Tom Sachs. And while Alexander Wang’s front row may be celebrity-heavy, the designer is careful to load his audience with a slew of global buyers from Barneys, Lane Crawford and Holt Renfrew.
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