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Exclusive: Vogue to Stage Outdoor Runway Show and Street Fair During NYFW

“VOGUE World: New York,” which will be open to the public and broadcast via livestream, is another brand building — and financial — opportunity for the publication.
Vogue World.
Vogue is hosting an ambitious New York Fashion Week event. (Courtesy)

Vogue is returning to New York Fashion Week with an ambitious live event.

“VOGUE World: New York” will include a runway show and street fair, staged in a yet-to-be disclosed Manhattan location on Sept. 12.

While the official objective is to celebrate the publication’s 130th anniversary, it also represents another opportunity to brand Vogue beyond traditional media channels.

The fashion show will be broadcast via livestream, featuring looks from the Fall/Winter 2022 collections of a range of designers, including Balenciaga, Valentino, Gucci and Dior, but also big American brands Michael Kors, Ralph Lauren, Tory Burch, plus Bode, Brother Vellies, Conner Ives and others. Vogue models and “personalities” — meaning celebrities — will walk the runway or perform, although the company declined to share names. Vogue contributing fashion editor Alex Harrington is styling the show, with Bardia Zeinali directing, Benji B supervising music and Bureau Betak staging. Snap Inc. is pitching in with an augmented-reality experience for attendees.

Along with the runway show, guests — a mix of industry insiders and consumers, who can buy tickets online — will be invited to shop a street fair, booths populated with limited-edition items made specifically for the event, as well as apparel and accessories brought in by stores including Moda Operandi, Mytheresa, Net-a-Porter, Nordstrom and Ssense. (Vogue said that a portion of the proceeds will be donated to the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund.)

Tickets cost anywhere from $130 to $3,000; higher tiers mean more perks, such as a chance to personally meet with Vogue editors. Certain tiers also include a membership to Vogue Club, a new content subscription that typically costs $25 a month (or $250 a year). (Vogue Club’s current members also get early access to tickets starting August 11.) A representative for Vogue declined to share how many tickets will be made available, or the overall expected number of attendees.

This isn’t the first time Vogue has used New York Fashion Week as an opportunity to create a tent-pole event. In 2009, Fashion’s Night Out was launched as a reaction to the financial crisis: a way to encourage wary consumers to get shopping again. (While it became a global phenomenon, the message — consumption is good — eventually faded out of fashion, and the event was discontinued in the US in 2013.) In 2010, Vogue staged a runway show at Lincoln Center — styled by Tabitha Simmons and Edward Enninful — that celebrated American fashion designers and helped to further promote Fashion’s Night Out.

But “VOGUE World: New York” combines editorial execution with commercial opportunity. Along with Vogue Club, the publication has launched other initiatives in recent years to boost revenue in an effort to offset declines in traditional print advertising. Besides creating sellable content around the Met Gala, it has Forces of Fashion, an insider-y annual conference. There’s also the Vogue100, an even pricier membership club that teases access to Anna Wintour, Vogue’s worldwide chief content officer and global editorial director.

Creatively, ““Fashion is changing, designers don’t just do one specific thing anymore — magazines have to do the same thing, we have to do so much more than make a magazine,” said American Vogue creative editorial director Mark Guiducci, who spearheaded the new project. He said that beyond the scope, what differentiates this from past efforts is the mix of online and offline access. “Even if you’re not in person, you’ll be able to experience it as if you were there,” he added, noting that the livestream will be produced by the team behind the MTV Video Music Awards.

The global mix of designers and talents involved also reflects new realities. Over the past year, several European luxury brands have staged shows in the super-hot US market, with Fendi and Marni planning to do so in September. Vogue is offering brands like Dior and Balenciaga — whose baby-blue dress was worn on latest the cover of US Vogue by retiring tennis star Serena Williams — yet another platform to get in front of those consumers. But it also speaks to the globalisation of the Vogue brand: under its restructuring, Wintour has control over editorial operations the world over, and Guiducci believes the event could potentially be replicated in other markets, as was Fashion’s Night Out.

The test will be whether Vogue manages to make “VOGUE World: New York” entertaining both online and off. This year, the lead sponsor is Smartwater, with support from Banana Republic.

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