The French capital’s prêt-à-porter week may be a magnet for snooty
designers and buyers with wallets the size of Vuitton trunks. But
cities with less history as hubs of couture have tried lately to grab some glamour
by staging their own fashion weeks. In March alone, there will be
dozens, including Dubai; Mumbai; Delhi; Kiev; Toronto; Miami; Montreal;
Melbourne; Aspen, Colorado; Charleston, South Carolina; Palm Desert,
California; and Dunedin (that’s the second-largest city on the South
Island of New Zealand). Fashionistas bound to the traditional
NYC-Paris-Milan catwalk circuit may sneer, but the shows highlight
local talent, raise designers’ regional profiles, and “boost the local
economy,” says Valerie Steele, director of the Fashion Institute of
Technology museum in New York. “They also add to a city’s cultural
identity, because fashion is seen as art — as well as a business.” — Theunis Bates
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