By Adrianne Pasquarelli REPRINTED WITHOUT PERMISSION FROM Crain's New York Business
The exhibit, in which 25 to 30 mannequins will model outfits from high-profile designers such as Diane von Furstenberg and Michael Kors, begins June 24 and runs through Labor Day.
Broadway’s sidewalks between Times Square and Herald Square will soon be teeming with even more beautifully dressed, fashionable figures. But unlike the hundreds of tourists and New Yorkers who walk the street on a daily basis, these new figures won’t be moving.
The Fashion Center Business Improvement District announced a new public art exhibit, appropriately dubbed "Sidewalk Catwalk," on Tuesday. The exhibit, in which 25 to 30 mannequins will model outfits from high-profile designers such as Diane von Furstenberg and Michael Kors, begins June 24 and runs through Labor Day. The figures will be located inside the pedestrian plazas on Broadway.
"There’s no destination in this neighborhood," said Fashion Center Executive Director Barbara Randall. "We wanted to celebrate the Fashion District and express what this neighborhood is all about and its creative talent that is the home of American fashion."
Ms. Randall said that the exhibit will include fiberglass mannequins designed by Ralph Pucci, who creates the figures at upscale department stores such as Saks Fifth Avenue and Barneys New York. Each fashion designer will use materials from the area, such as buttons and trim, along with heavy duty, weatherproof items—not fabrics—from nonprofit Materials Connection on West 23rd Street.
"We’re hoping they view it as more of a work of art—a sculpture—than an outfit," said Ms. Randall.
So far, 20 designers, from Betsey Johnson to Kenneth Cole, have signed on for the project, and Macy’s is a key sponsor. The department store plans to celebrate the art initiative with special window displays and exclusive merchandise. Meanwhile, the Parsons School of Design and the Fashion Institute of Technology will have their own mannequins to dress.
"This groundbreaking, outdoor, public runway is destined to become New York City’s major tourist attraction this summer," said Fern Mallis, senior vice president of IMG Fashion—which produces Mercedes Benz Fashion Week—and a chairperson for the project, in a statement. "It will attract every fashion-loving citizen and tourist who would do anything to get inside the Bryant Park Tents."
Incidentally, Fashion Week spent its final days at Bryant Park last month and will move uptown to Lincoln Center’s Damrosch Park this fall.
On Sept. 6, after the exhibit concludes, the sculptures will be auctioned off and the proceeds will go to Materials for the Arts, a nonprofit that supplies arts materials to New York City public schools.