The legendary Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week is right around the corner. Fashion Week occurs twice a year in NYC, in September and February, with this September’s week-long event featuring Spring 2014 designer collections. Now one of four major fashion weeks around the world, New York Fashion Week was the original. Prior to World War II, American fashions were not showcased or held in as high esteem as European designs. But in 1943, Eleanor Lambert, a pioneer in American fashion publicity, organized a showcase of American designers for the national and regional media. Editors arrived for “Press Week” and American designers lined the pages of fashion magazines in the months that followed. Ms. Lambert had organized the world’s first-ever fashion week, featuring 53 designer shows in the Plaza Hotel that first year. Today, there are over 250 designers who display their work each year, creating an intense schedule with a tremendous number of shows.

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When: September 5 through September 12, 2013.

Lincoln Square has been the central location of Fashion Week since 2010, after it was determined that “The Tents” in Bryant Park could no longer manage the massive audiences that came as Fashion Week attracted more celebrities and fashion insiders. Lincoln Center is divided into different runway areas: the Studio, the Theater, the Stage, and the Box, allowing for a continuous line-up of shows throughout the day. The vast majority of events are held there, but shows are now spread throughout Manhattan in different locations. Designers are always on the look out for the most innovative spaces, holding shows in galleries, piers on the West Side Highway, and spacious lofts. Check mbfashionweek.com for specific details.

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The Fashion Week schedule reads like a who’s who of the fashion world’s leaders. Most of your favorite designers and designer brands, as well as NYC fashion schools, will be participating. The anchor brands of American fashion are accommodated first, with many designers holding the same time slots for seasons. Nicolas K kicks off Fashion Week with a 9am show on the 4th, with Calvin Klein closing the week at 2pm on the 12th.  Here are a few more of the daily highlights:

September 5- BCBG Max Azria, Desigual, The Art Institute of New York
September 6- Nautica, Rebecca Minkoff, Nicole Miller, Elle Fashion, Academy of Art University
September 7- Lacoste, Jill Stuart, Mara Hoffman, Herve Leger by Max Azria, Monique Lhullier
September 8- Lela Rose, DKNY, Tracy Reese, Diane von Furstenberg, Vivienne Tam, Zac Posen
September 9- Carolina Herrera, Tommy Hilfiger, Donna Karan New York, Reem Acra, KaufmanFranco, Libertine
September 10- Tory Burch, J. Crew, Badgley Mischka, Vera Wang, Jenny Packman
September 11- Michael Kors, Rachel Zoe, Betsey Johnson, Anna Sui
September 12- Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein

Many stores and designers around the city organize events during Fashion Week as well. Check your favorite stores to see if they are having parties, sales, or special events. Even some restaurants do special fashion week promotions!

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The official Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week site states that it welcomes “more than 100,000 industry insiders” to its shows every season. Getting a runway-way side invite makes you one of four things: an A-list celeb, a designer, a credentialed media veteran, or a civilian with an inside connection to someone in the fashion industry. Admission is by invitation only and granted to the fashion industry and press, celebrities, and selected bloggers. These self-made editors are now commonly seen sitting front-row, so if you dream of a live runway view, get blogging! The more Twitter and Instagram Followers a person has, the better their seats will be at the shows.

But anyone can see the shows now, thanks to live streaming on the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week website (http://newyork.mbfashionweek.com/live). There is also sometimes standing room access if you are willing to wait in line for invitation-holders to be let in first. If you can get in the door and get to the check-in table, make your case for why you should be given standing room access and perhaps you may get to see the show. If you can spend an entire week at the shows you can try becoming a volunteer with Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. They recruit numerous volunteers to help run the shows. Send a request to mbfw_volunteers@cfda.com.

As for parties, Guest of a Guest’s website offers a comprehensive list of the week’s parties in their online calendar. Most are Invitation Only, however, there are some parties open to the public. GofaG also has compiled galleries of Fashion Week’s best parties in the past, including ones open to the public, but they have not done this for September as of yet. But keep your eye out on GofaG for such a list and/or use their amazing calendar. http://guestofaguest.com/new-york/calendar/

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Unless you have an “in” in the fashion world, you may have to admire the shows from afar or celebrate the week at one of the parties open to the public. However, with the live streaming of shows, constant media coverage, and celebrations and promotions throughout Manhattan, Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week is closer to the average and fabulous fashionista than every before.

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