Fashion shows have come a long way since the private salon shows of 1800s Paris and the very first U.S. fashion show in 1903. Attendance has grown from a few dozen or so under one roof to spectacular weeklong events that attract thousands to multiple venues. Today these grand events take place around the world in fashion capitals such as Paris, New York, London and Milan, and they just keep getting bigger and bigger each year. While there are literally thousands of fashion show events around the world, the shows on our list are considered the biggest and the best. Take a look at eight of the largest fashion events in the world and find out when and where they take place.
1. Paris Fashion Week
A member of the “Big 4” fashion weeks, Paris Fashion Week dates back to 1945 when the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture established a set of rules to regulate and determine Haute Couture Houses. Under the rules, the house had to present a collection to the Paris press in each season. A minimum of 35 runs was required, with both evening and daywear. At this time, the presentations were not known as Paris Fashion Week. This designation didn’t happen until 1973 when the clothing and fashion exhibitions were officially inaugurated. Organized by the French Fashion Federation, todays Paris Fashion Week attracts more fashion royalty than just about any other fashion event in the world.
The catwalk shows of Paris Fashion Week are usually held at the Carrousel du Louvre. Shows also take place at several other venues throughout the city. During the last few days of February into the first week of March, Paris Fashion Week features Women's Ready to Wear Fall/Winter collections. The end of September through the beginning October presents the Women's Ready to Wear Spring/Summer collections. The men's Spring-Summer collections are shown in June or July and the Haute Couture collections for Fall-Winter are shown in July. While the event is closed to the public, the large department stores along Boulevard Haussman host fashion shows that are open to all.
2. New York Fashion Week
Going strong since 1943, New York Fashion Week (NYFW) is the very first fashion show of its kind. Created by Eleanor Lambert, who helped found the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) and who was appointed by President Lyndon Johnson to the National Council on the Arts of the National Endowment for the Arts, New York Fashion Week is now in the hands of IMG—the “world’s leading producer, marketer, and partner to the international fashion community. Another member of the coveted “Big 4” fashion weeks, New York Fashion Week (NYFW) is held semi-annually in February and September. The show features the biggest names in fashion from Anna Sui to Tommy Hilfiger and it highlights some of the world’s most promising young designers. NYFW typically attracts more than 100,000 attendees, as well as 4,000+ registered journalists, photographers, and members of the press.
NYFW fashion shows are held at three venues—Skylight at Moynihan Station, 360 West 33rd Street, New York, NY; MADE at Milk Studios, 450 West 15th Street, New York, NY, and Skylight Clarkson SQ, 558 Washington Street, New York, NY. While the shows are invite-only, there is an alternative called “Couture Fashion Week.” This year the show takes place Friday, September 9, 2016 thru Sunday, September 11, 2016 at Crowne Plaza Times Square Manhattan, Broadway Ballroom, 4th Floor, 1605 Broadway (between 48th/49th Streets). General seating runs $50 to $75, depending on the day. Front Row and Platinum VIP seating run $100 to $220 and $1,200 to $1,500, respectively.
3. London Fashion Week
Founded in 1984 by the British Fashion Council (BFC), London Fashion Week (LFW) attracts some of the world’s largest fashion houses and retailers, and thousands of press and buyers from around the world. Yet another grand fashion show and a member of the “Big 4”fashoin weeks, London Fashion Week is held in February and September each year. In 2012, the show introduced “London Collections: Men.” By 2015, the men’s show had grown by 67% and included 77 separate designers.
London Fashion Week Venues include BFC Show Space, Brewer Street Car Park, Brewer Street London W1F 0LA; BFC Presentation Space, ICA, The Mall, London SW1Y 5AH; TopShop Show Space, Tate Britain, Millbank, London SW1P 4RG, and ON|OFF, The Vinyl Factory, 16 - 18 Marshall Street, London W1F 7BE. Past designers have included Alexander McQueen, Amanda Wakeley, Mulberry, Paul Smith, Sadie Williams, TOGA, and Vivienne Westwood.
4. Milan Fashion Week
Milan Fashion Week began in 1958 under the National Chamber for Italian Fashion. Also a member of the “Big 4”fashion weeks, the show takes place during the months of February and March for the Spring-Summer Collection, and September and October for the Fall-Winter Collection. The Men’s shows take place in January (Fall/Winter) and June (Spring/Summer). Attendees can expect to see collections from famous designers such as Giorgio Armani, Missoni, Salvatore Ferragamo, Prada, Versace, Roberto Cavalli, Emilio Pucci, and many others.
According to Walks of Italy, aside from the standard studios and showrooms, many of Milan’s fashion shows are held in historic, outdoor landmarks such as the Piazza Duomo (Milan’s central square and home to the city’s cathedral), the courtyard of the Castello Sforzesco (a 15th-century castle), and the Arco della Pace (triumphal arch located in Parco Sempione). These outdoor venues offer more space, appreciation of the city’s history, and the opportunity for the public to be a part of the show.
5. Los Angeles Fashion Week
LA Fashion Week (LAFW) is held in March and October each year and “showcases some of the best award-winning talent from all over the world,” according to the LAFW website. “More than 40 emerging, established and internationally renowned designers take the stage to create a unique, creative, innovative fashion experience.” The event, which often attracts more than 20,000 guests, is considered the second largest in the U.S., after New York.
“As a permanent feature alongside London, Paris, Milan, New York, and Tokyo international fashion week shows,” LAFW is “dedicated to supporting apparel, design, and art communities through a variety of initiatives, partners, organizations and charities,” according to LAFW.
For more information about LAFW, visit LA Fashion Week.
6. Rome Fashion Week
Rome Fashion Week is a biannual event that takes place in January and July. Also known as “Alta Moda Alta Roma,” Rome Fashion Week features the designs of both historic Italian fashion houses and new design houses from around the globe. In addition to both iconic and new designers, the event attracts thousands of journalists, editors, buyers, celebrities, and socialites. According to One Concierge, throughout the event, the central courtyard hosts a series of catwalk shows created by numerous fashion houses and top designers.
For more information about Rome Fashion Week, visit AltaRoma.
7. Berlin Fashion Week
Although young compared to Paris and New York Fashion Weeks, Berlin Fashion Week (Berliner Modewoche) has made a name for itself by introducing the world to some of today’s hottest young fashion designers. The biannual show was established in 2007 and it is presented by organizations such as Berlin Partner and the Berlin Senate, among others. Held in January and July, Berlin Fashion Week locations include Brandenburger Gate, Expocenter City, Arena Berlin, Kraftwerk Berlin, Station Berlin, Postbahnhof, and Kronprinzenpalais (Crown Prince's Palace).
For more information about Berlin Fashion Week, visit Fashion Week Berlin.
8. Tokyo - Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week TOKYO
Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week TOKYO (MBFWT) is often described as one of the most anticipated fashion events in the world. Hosted by the Japan Fashion Week Organization (JFW Organization) and held twice a year on March and October, Tokyo Fashion Week is known for launching some of the world’s most unusual fashion lines and starting many of the oddest trends still alive today. The event attracts famous fashion designers and other well-known industry professionals from all 56 fashion capitals, and beyond. According to the event website, Japan's latest creations are showcased to the world from various locations in Tokyo centered at Shibuya Hikarie and Mercedes-Benz Connection.
For more information about MBFWT, visit Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week TOKYO.
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