Thursday, April 29, 2010

Fern Mallis Leaves "The Tents"

Fern Mallis, senior V.P. of IMG Fashion and founder of Mercedes-Benz New York Fashion Week, is leaving IMG to start her own consulting firm, Fern Mallis LLC.

This is major news. Ms. Mallis was the major force behind the creation of New York's Fashion Week in 1993 which changed the landscape of American fashion forever. When Ms. Mallis conceived the idea of having fashion shows in Bryant Park, some in the industry scoffed, saying New York wasn't considered a "fashion capital" a la Milan and Paris. However, the success of the Bryant Park shows turned New York's fashion week into one of the most important in the industry.

So, the big question is: How will Ms. Mallis' departure affect IMG and Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week? The good news is that IMG has signed on to be Ms. Mallis' first client, which will help with Fashion Week's transition from Bryant Park to Lincoln Center. A potential drawback is IMG will not be naming a successor to Ms. Malin's position, choosing to spread the duties of spokesperson for IMG Fashion among several executives, thus losing an ambassador for Fashion Week. But according to Crain's New York Business, fashion insiders are not worried as long as Christina Neault, executive producer for IMG Fashion, stays on:

“For any of the designers, Christina is the person we have a day-to-day relationship with,” said Amy Smilovic, head designer of contemporary brand Tibi, adding that Ms. Mallis was more like a fairy godmother designers approached when they wanted to first show at the tents. “As long as you’ve got that face that you deal with day to day and you can count on them, then I feel everything will go smoothly.”


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