If you've ever been to a show during Fashion Week in New York City - then you know Fern Mallis. The tall brunette with signature glasses and a no-nonsense attitude cuts a striking figure during in the tents at Bryant Park, where runway shows take place. As senior vice president at IMG, the company which organizes New York Fashion Week, her job is to make sure that the week goes off without a hitch. Despite countless meetings, interviews and deadlines, she still makes time to attend nearly every show on the schedule, a feat her fellow fashionistas admire and respect her for. I caught up with her a mere twenty four hours before fashion week officially kicks off to see what sets her - and New York Fashion Week - apart.
Zandile Blay Fashion Week is less than 24 hours away. How do you feel?
Fern Mallis I'm excited, elated and a little anxious.
FM Every year a couple of hiccups are bound to happen! But even so, there's a lot of amazing things to look forward to.
ZB Like what?
FMThe production of the schedule this year is phenomenal. We have fabulous shows, a full house and even the graphics in front of the tents are amazing.
ZB Speaking of fabulous shows, I have to ask: which ones are you looking forward to?
FM Its always a hard question. I go to 90% of the shows and the other 10% I miss is because I'm probably at a meeting. Michale Kors is always a high point for me and so is Betsey Johnson. It's always amazing to see that at 60,she's still doing cartwheels down the runway. I'm looking forward to young designers like Richard Chai and Verrier and I'm really excited by DKNY being back at the tents. I'm also thrilled that Calvin Klein , although not at the tents, will be celebrating his 40th anniversary with us.
ZB That sort of answers my next question - what makes this particular season special?
FM First of all, September shows always feel like school is starting. This particular season there's different kind of buzz in the air, especially with the elections. We are all wondering how the outcome will affect our industry, especially with two first ladies who wear clothes particularly well.
ZB I love that comment - and wholeheartedly agree. Now, I usually cover fashion in London and when I'm there I get a sense that New York Fashion Week is frowned upon for being too commercial. What do you say to that?
FM I don't buy into it. The bottom line is that its about the bottom line. There's a place for creativity, but clothes aren't meant to be hung up in an art gallery.This is a commercial industry and the name of the game is to buy cloths that people want to see, wear and buy.