Over the years Stephanie Winston Wolkoff has earned the reputation of being a major player in the fashion scene and today she cemented that by revealing that she's going out on her own. This morning WWD confirmed that Winston Wolkoff is launching a new creative agency, SWW Creative, which 'seeks to forge new partnerships in fashion, beauty and entertainment.'
The new move works for several reasons. In the past she served as Vogue's special events director so was the mastermind behind the success of most of the Met Gala's up until 2010, along with all of the other events that come hand-in-hand with US Vogue. After leaving Vogue she headed over to the Lincoln Center to serve as their very first fashion director where she worked on New York Fashion Week's big move from Byrant Park and was responsible for big events like the recent 'Lincoln Center Presents Ralph Lauren in Conversation with Oprah Winfrey'. Naturally, then, if there was anyone who could bring production, collaborations and sponsorship together, it's her.
'After almost two decades in the fashion and arts world, I am ready to bridge the gap into the entertainment world as well,' she in a statement to WWD. 'The support from my mentors has been overwhelmingly positive and I am so fortunate to have had the ability to work with some of the most incredible people in all industries. Now I can create so many initiatives and productions and advise on so many levels.'
It seems that it's all change for New York Fashion Week this season, and we're not just talking about the change in venue. Lincoln Centre's new fashion director Stephanie Winston Wolkoff has certainly made her mark - at the beginning of this year she announced that fashion week gate-crashers would be a thing of the past, and she's stuck to her word.
According to IMG, roughly 80 per cent of the designers showing this season are jumping on board with Winston Wolkoff's plan to send out bar-coded invitations, meaning guests will be able to check themselves in and find their seats using kiosks at the venue. The implications of the coded system have been put in force to ensure a smoother, more efficient admittance for guests, however it will also wipe out any gate-crashers, as well as allowing publicists to detect no-shows, enabling them to fill any empty seats.
Alongside her plans for technologically advanced admittance, Winston Wolkoff has revealed that she aims to make Lincoln Centre's devotion to fashion a year round thought, rather than just season to season. "I want to see fashion on par with all of the other cultural activities here - the ballet, the opera," she told the Wall Street Journal. "I really do think that it's going to be very important that fashion at Lincoln Centre becomes a year-round initiative."
Sylvana Soto-Ward can sigh a sigh of relief today. Not only did she manage to pull in a red carpet worthy guest list, figures released yesterday show that Monday's Met Gala raised $9million, the most the event has ever raised and almost twice as much as last year. Everything was riding on this year's events, especially since it was the first without Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, who's been in charge of the Costume Institute Gala for the past decade.
Fern Mallis, senior VP of IMG - the group at the front of New York Fashion Week - is leaving the company to start her own consultancy firm, Fern Mallis LLC. Yesterday was her last day with IMG, marking the close of an era for both New York fashion and Mallis herself. The former executive director of the CFDA, Mallis has planned New York Fashion Week since the birth of the event 18 years ago.
For Mallis, this isn't an out-of-the-blue change. "When we were planning the move to Lincoln Center, it felt like closure, like the end of the cycle," she explained to WWD. And though IMG Fashion will be Mallis' first new client, we expect big changes for fashion week come September. With a new venue for the shows, and Stephanie Winston Wolkoff taking the new position of Fashion Week director, it's hard telling what we'll see at the next collections.
As Fashion Week in New York prepares to be held at Bryant Park for the last time in February, Ruth Thinlay - who creates the fashion calendar - has ensured us that it's last time at the beloved Bryant Park will definitely be a big one. Aiming to match, if not beat last season's record of 299 shows and presentations, the New York fashion community will be able to take advantage of a full calendar of events held at the tents here for the last time. And why not wear the place out, if after all it will be the last time fashion week will be held there before it relocates to Damrosch.
"It is bound to be quite a trek to 62nd Street between Columbus and Amsterdam Avenues, but Lincoln Center has already made strategic moves to make the fashion crowd feel right at home. Next month, Vogue alum Stephanie Winston Wolkoff will start in her new role as Lincoln Center’s director, fashion week. She will be the liaison between Lincoln Center and the fashion industry, including designers, retailers, the Council of Fashion Designers of America and IMG Fashion, which organizes Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week." The Cut revealed. So we'd better get practicing running in heels, ladies... but for the meantime, enjoy the time we have left at Bryant Park.
See, the job market isn't so bad! At least not for Stephanie Winston-Wolkoff, who served as Vogue's special events director until June and formerly planned fashion's biggest party, the Met Costume Institute Gala. Winston-Wolkoff has just been named Lincoln Centre's fashion week director. Not a bad transition, right?
The job duties include internal and external consulting for Lincoln Centre (which will host its first fashion week in September 2010) and fashion-industry players, including the CFDA, IMG Fashion and top designers. Winston-Wolkoff's new boss will be Reynold Levy, president of Lincoln Centre.
"Welcoming Fashion Week to Lincoln Center is an important part of our commitment to making the campus more open and accessible, particularly since design has played an integral role in the artistic life of our 12 resident organizations for many decades," said Levy. "Stephanie's understanding of the specific needs of the fashion industry in tandem with her experience in organizing high profile, logistically complex events, will be invaluable as a resource in ensuring that Fashion Week's presence at Lincoln Centre will be very special - exciting, convenient and efficient."
Yesterday, we brought up the teensy fact that Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, who's been in charge of the Costume Institute Gala for the past decade and built it into the spectacle it is today, has left Vogue. And that it was speculated that the fashion party of the year might be in jeopardy.
Today, we can report that Sylvana Soto-Ward, former Vogue accessories editor, has been named as Winston Wolkoff's replacement and will now handle the Met Ball. Soto-Ward joined Team Vogue in 2003 as Anna Wintour's assistant, according to The Cut, so we say it's not too shabby to earn a top position after only several years.
To add to the challenge of taking over the Oscars of the East Coast? Wintour wants to make this year's event a budget affair, but we assume she'll want it to look just as expensive. Damn recession! You're ruining everything.
So Stephanie Winston Wolkoff is gone from Vogue, and she's the one who organised the annual Costume Institute Gala for the past decade and built it into the spectacle we know today. Really, for fashion, only the Met Ball and the CFDA Awards generate as much buzz.
Now, Conde Nast is buzzing about what will happen with the Met Ball now that Winston Wolkoff has left the building. "Events budgets have been slashed across the board at Conde," a source tells Fashion Week Daily. "The Costume Institute has got to be the company's most expensive event, and Stephanie built it into what it is today. It makes no sense to pass it off to someone else."
But here's the real question: What will Anna Wintour say?