New York kicks off 2014 fashion week season

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The week-long fest of glamour, style and celebrity endorsement will see frenzied fashionistas high-tail it across the city, squeezing in back-to-back shows from morning until night.

Dominated by big US designers led by Marc Jacobs and Alexander Wang, emerging talent from Europe, Asia and for the first time, Australia, will snip at the sidelines hoping for their big break.

Despite concerns about the weather, tens of thousands of visitors are expected to descend on New York for what is the first fashion week of the year, hotly followed by London, Paris and Milan.

A blast of snow and freezing rain forced the cancellation of around 1,300 flights in New York on Wednesday and forecasters warn that another winter storm could strike at the weekend.

The opening show will be Nicholas K, followed by BCBG Max Azria and Tadashi Shoji on the first day, before a long weekend unfolds with stars like Wang, Jason Wu and Diane von Furstenberg.

The main venue, tents at the Lincoln Center on the Upper West Side have been redesigned and a special space set up for young designers, but many of the big names will exhibit all across town.

Wang has made waves by sending the high priestesses of Manhattan kicking and screaming in becoming the first big name to decamp his collection across the East River to Brooklyn.

The creative director of Balenciaga will unveil his hotly anticipated collection at the Duggal Greenhouse — also host to Lady Gaga’s recent album launch — at the Brooklyn Naval Yard.

The most coveted event is Marc Jacobs, unveiling his first collection since leaving Louis Vuitton to concentrate on floating his own brand, tipped by some for the billion-dollar leagues.

The much loved New York designer with a flair for showmanship provides the grand finale to the Week with an evening show at the New York State Armory on February 13.

Fashion Week also offers celebrations for Furstenberg, marking 40 years of her wrap dress, copies of which have become a style staple for millions of women, and Donna Karan’s 30-year brand.

“New York City is the epicenter of fashion,” Furstenberg said in a statement, promising “something special” to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the wrap dress.

For many, secrecy is the name of the game. But US designer Tommy Hilfiger offered a little insight into his Fall 2014 collection that he says will fuse all-American prep with British heritage.”

“Iconic tweeds and tartans mix with sporty downs and nylons. The look is youthful and cool… the hiker girl is the new biker girl,” he wrote in a blog on the Huffington Post.

This year will see more shows than ever lived streamed online to reach a wider audience than last year’s estimated 3.7 million viewers scattered across 173 countries.

Fashion houses are also exploiting social media, Marc Jacobs for example looking to drive up online traffic by inviting people to buy his “Daisy” perfume from a pop-up shop by sending tweets.

Other designers to look out for are Lacoste, Michael Kors, Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, Prabal Gurung, Anna Sui, Zac Posen, Victoria Beckham, Carolina Herrera, Altuzarra and Helmut Lang.

It is also the first fashion week since New York tightened the law protecting child models in an industry that has courted controversy for eating disorders, racism and sexual harassment.

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