Editors and influencers looking forward to Kate Spade's semi-annual fashion week party are about to be sorely disappointed: The brand is sitting out the spring 2017 fashion calendar, presenting the season's collection only to long-lead press via private appointments. It's part of a plan for Kate Spade to better align itself with the consumer calendar; the brand may to return to the New York Fashion Week schedule in February with another big party — where that same spring 2017 collection will be on view.
"We pride ourselves on always giving our customer what she wants, when she wants it. In our continued dialogue with our customer, we know the way she shops has changed," chief creative officer Deborah Lloyd says in a statement to Fashionista. "We’re always looking for new ways to bring her joy, ideally through experiencing the world of Kate Spade New York in the right way, at the right time – and that remains a focal point now and into next year."
And Kate Spade is not alone. On Wednesday, Derek Lam announced that he, too, would show his spring 2017 collection only to a tightly curated audience of press and buyers. WWD reports that Lam himself will present the 24 looks in the penthouse of the Greenwich Hotel. "This is a moment of change with the fashion cycle and I want to take this opportunity to be centered and think in a more concise way," Lam says in a statement to Fashionista. "I will present my collection in a format that allows me to concentrate on the clothes and speak about my inspiration."
CFDA President Diane von Furstenberg, too, will forgo a fashion show after switching to a presentation format for fall 2016. While the brand was unable to comment on the change, invites to see the spring 2017 collection specify that showings of the collection are by appointment only. It's not particularly surprising in the wake of CEO Paolo Riva's comments at the Financial Times Business of Luxury Conference this past May. "We are asking the fashion show to do everything: to showcase the product, to communicate in an intelligent way to press, to assist our partners to buy the collection, social media buzz, celebrities and influencers... it's too much for one moment," he said. "Let's split it up."
Maiyet is also making the switch to private appointments after showing on the runway for the past several seasons.
These certainly aren't the first designers to scale back their runway presence and rethink their promotional strategies for new collections. Brands like Rebecca Taylor and Misha Nonoo have long since abandoned the fashion week calendar altogether, instead focusing funds on consumer-facing social-media campaigns. Tommy Hilfiger will show his spring 2017 collection privately as well, using his NYFW time slot to host a literal carnival, open to the public, to promote the "Tommy x Gigi" and fall 2016 collections, which will be immediately available to shop. Hilfiger follows in the footsteps of Givenchy, which made tickets to its spring 2016 runway available via lottery last September, and Rebecca Minkoff, who invited customers to her "see now, buy now" runway show in February.
Whether tightening things up or opening the floodgates, one thing is clear: There is no consensus on how brands will be handling fashion week going forward. Many of these designers are following formulas offered by the CFDA's recent study on NYFW, and there is no one-size-fits-all solution to the growing pains fashion is currently experiencing. Are the days of New York Fashion Week numbered? We'll just have to wait and see.
8/26/2016, 1:50: This post has been updated to reflect a statement from Kate Spade New York.