In fashion math, $200 will get you 1 pair of Lanvin flats on sale at Barneys, 10 Tarte lipglosses, or half the sleeve of the Chanel penguin sweater. It could also get you into the Carolina Herrera show. American Express recently announced a deal with IMG - the company producing New York Fashion Week - which makes tickets to runway shows available to Amex gold card holders. $200 buys you a seat for two collections -- in a specially constructed 26 seat skybox in the tents, complete with food, beverages, a giftbag, and a very small view of the back of Anna's head. Or at least, it did. The 450 packages available went on sale 5 days ago, but they've already all been snapped up by Coco fans, DVF lovers, and would-be Olsen spotters. The ticket proceeds go to American Express, but the company is paying IMG a substantial sponsorship sum for their special seats. IMG says that it's a way to keep charging labels the same amount to show their work, despite rising production costs. But insiders say the deal is why more designers show outside the Tents - They want total control over the show's environment, guest list, and advertising, and feel that IMG is more concerned with its own brand than those showing in Bryant Park. Despite the nay-sayers, IMG plans to offer similar deals for other fashion week events it produces (in London, LA, Berlin, and Miami). They're tapping into a growing desire to see real live size zeros stomp the catwalk: In November, labels like Oscar de la Renta and Valentino re-enact their spring collections in Dallas, during four days of 18 runway presentations. Every seat is for sale, and prices start at $25 a show. This could be a great way to demystify fashion for those who don't breathe the industry - but it might also kill some of its magic. Will fashion shows lose their appeal? Or will fashion be better when it answers to the people as well as the press? --ANNA FIELDING GRIGGS
In fashion math, $200 will get you 1 pair of Lanvin flats on sale at Barneys, 10 Tarte lipglosses, or half the sleeve of the Chanel penguin sweater.