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Michael Kors, Betsey Johnson, Diane von Furstenberg and 17 other top American designers are creating a summer-long “fashion show” that will march up Broadway from Herald Square to Times Square. The public art project, called “Sidewalk Catwalk” and put on by the Fashion Center Business Improvement District, will feature original looks by the designers and will be worn by fiberglass mannequins, which have proved notably heartier than live models. They’ll be placed in the new pedestrian plazas in the heart of tourist country as part of an effort to draw attention to Manhattan’s under-appreciated garment district.
The one-off outfits, which will be on display from June 24th through Labor Day, will be crafted from non-traditional materials that can survive 3 months in the elements. The Fashion Center BID is currently working with sustainable fabric consultancy Material Connexion, to find “a broad range of materials, paints, adhesives, and accessories the designers can use that will be able to withstand the weather for the exhibit’s duration and look great doing it,” said Barbara Randall, president of the organization. The unusual materials may be an interesting challenge for the high-end designers. It all sounds a bit Project Runway, so Kors should be right at home. At least they’re not constructing them out of produce.
The mannequins will also be guarded by security 24/7 for the duration of the exhibit, according to Randall, so don’t get any ideas, although the clothes probably couldn’t be worn by actual human beings anyway. At the end of the summer each outfit and its model will be auctioned off, with all proceeds being donated to Materials for the Arts, a nonprofit that sources recycled art supplies for schools.