FADING faster from New York Fashion Week than the tents at Bryant Park are the A-list celebrities who used to fill their front-row seats.
With shows of spring fashions starting Sept. 5, organizers are scrambling to line up big names. The Fashionista.com Web site asks: “Have celebs abandoned Fashion Week?” and dishes that “p.r. BlackBerries” are buzzing “that, so far, there are way less celeb confirmations than in the past.”
Fashion insiders are quick to blame the MTV Video Music Awards in Las Vegas and the Emmy Awards in Los Angeles, which happen the same week.
Leslie Stevens, co-founder of publicity firm LaForce + Stevens, says it’s too early to declare defeat: “We are producing seven shows, and we haven’t started to go in full force yet.”
Stars were scarce at the shows last February, leaving paparazzi to settle for the likes of Tinsley Mortimer, Lauren Bush and Vanessa Minnillo. Such front-row regulars as Sarah Jessica Parker and Scarlett Johansson steered clear.
The biggest stars next month - the last time Bryant Park will be used for the runway shows - might be the ones who are paid by designers to appear in their ad campaigns. Djimon Hounsou and Hilary Swank, the bodies of Calvin Klein underwear, are co-hosting a party for the company on Sept. 4.
Alison Brod PR founder Alison Brod, who is producing shows next month for Jill Stuart, Alice + Olivia, Rosa Cha and Pamella Roland, told Page Six, “Celebs are creating individual relationships with individual designers. It’s not like years ago, when someone would come into town and go to a handful of shows.”
Another theory for the shortfall of bona fide stars is that designers are fed up with dealing with demanding Hollywood types, who then distract attention away from the collections to themselves. “It’s similar to what happened with the supermodels of the ’80s,” said an industry insider. “They became more famous than the designers. The designers put a stop to it. The whole idea is to sell clothes.”
We may have a chance of catching “The Devil Wears Prada” star Anne Hathaway at one runway show next month, however. Spies spotted the Hollywood princess sipping cocktails with Valentino at the Hotel Quisisana in Capri last night.