New York fashion elites split over red carpets

Tue Feb 5, 2008 3:08pm EST
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By Michelle Nichols

NEW YORK (Reuters) - As hope grows the Oscars will escape the Hollywood writers' strike, experts at New York Fashion Week are split among some saying the industry needs red carpet events and others not bothered by their absence.

Designer Rubin Singer, who showed his second collection at fashion week on Friday, said he spent about $35,000 preparing to dress singer Shakira and two other actresses for the scaled-down Golden Globes ceremony last month.

"For a small business like mine it's imperative for us to get this kind of exposure because we don't have the dollars ... (for) advertising campaigns," Singer told Reuters. "We depend so much on people wearing the clothes in the public eye."

"Mass media exposure of an A-list star wearing your dress is almost incalculable, it's millions of dollars worth of exposure," he said.

Singer said Lebanese designer Elie Saab went from being unknown to a top designer in the United States after dressing Halle Berry when she won an Oscar in 2002 for "Monster's Ball."

But for designer Carmen Marc Valvo, the cancellation of the Golden Globes ceremony was a relief.

"The awards are very close to the New York collections and there is always the question of what do we concentrate on -- red carpet or runway," he said. "Of course, red carpet offers the greater publicity, but there is never a guarantee that the celebrity will actually wear the dress."

Red carpet events are fiercely competitive and designers often don't know who will wear their dress until that day -- something that can mean huge magazine and television exposure.   Continued...

<p>Singers Fergie (L) and Rihanna (R) pose with designer Max Azria after the 2008/2009 fall collection show during New York Fashion Week February 4, 2008. For top designers like Azria, celebrity events are important, but he said his business would not be hurt by the loss of the Golden Globes or potential Oscars' cancellation. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri</p>