American Runway: 75 Years of Fashion and the Front Row

American Runway: 75 Years of Fashion and the Front Row

New York Fashion Week has served many purposes throughout its long history, but it has always remained at the center of the American fashion world. During World War II, Fashion Week challenged the dominance of French couture; in the 1970s and 1980s, it was a showcase for American sportswear stars who became household names; in the 2000s, it was the stage for celebrity designers using the runway as a vehicle for entertainment; and now, it is the place to see and be seen by contemporary reality TV and social media stars. Now, this illustrious history is told as it’s never been told before, in a book packed with designer interviews, backstage ephemera, and exclusive photographs culled from all 75 years of New York Fashion Week. Part historical over­view, part scrapbook, and part fashion-industry field guide, American Runway will bring to life the people, places, and over-the-top runway productions of New York Fashion Week—and will sate the appetites of die-hard fashion fans and casual fashionistas alike.


From Eleanor Lambert’s Press Week and Bryant Park to show sets and celebrities – as designers and in the front row – New York fashion shows have played a key role in defining the fashion landscape. The CFDA and Abrams are excited to unveil the subject of their next book, American Runway. 

In the works for the past year, the book, authored by Booth Moore, will give readers a front-row seat to the history of fashion shows in New York and their role in shaping the American fashion industry.

Told from the perspective of the CFDA’s 500-plus Members, it will also include behind-the-scenes stories from designers, industry insiders, and models about casting, sets, music, and the theatricality of the runways.

Moore is the senior fashion editor at The Hollywood Reporter and, and previously spent 11 years as fashion critic for the Los Angeles Times covering runway shows in New York, London, Milan, and Paris.

“The timing of the book couldn’t be better,” she said. “We are in a time of so much change. What used to be insider, industry-only events have in many cases become entertainment vehicles, bringing fashion into the realm of pop culture.”

New Book Tells Story of How the Fashion Runway Became a Stage

Norman Norell and Hattie Carnegie may not be household names, but their role in shaping American fashion is as vital as Marc Jacobs, Ralph Lauren and Donna Karan. That’s one of the takeaways of a just-released book about New York Fashion Week, from its sleepy beginnings to the high-wattage, celebrity-laden productions we know today.

American Runway (Abrams, $65), written by Booth Moore, style and fashion news director for The Hollywood Reporter, explores the evolution of New York’s biannual Fashion Week, which celebrates its 75th anniversary this year: The “First Annual Fashion Press Week,” a low-key event featuring designers that included Norell and Carnegie, took place on July 19, 1943. “Once [fashion publicist Eleanor Lambert] launched Press Week in 1943, the era of the American designer started,” writes designer and Council of Fashion Designers of America chairman Diane von Furstenberg in the book’s foreword (Moore worked with the CFDA).

From those World War II-era presentations to live-stream events now viewed in real time around the world, American Runway discusses the moments that have shaped New York’s place on fashion’s global stage, luring pop culture figures like Andy Warhol along the way.

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