Andrew Almeter, Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Creative Genius, Talks Inspiration

Whether you’re a fashionista or not, it’s hard not to notice Fashion Week’s presence in the city.  First, there is Fashion’s Night Out, kick-starting the week of festivities, then if you’re lucky enough to get near Lincoln Center, there are the swarms of well-healed celebrities, designers, socialites and glitterati trotting through the streets in a fashion frenzy.  It’s frenetic and wonderful.

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The event itself brings together talent from the across the globe to showcase their labors of love and supreme artistry, that some of us are lucky enough to later wear, or lust after.

But putting together this world-class event isn’t as simple as it looks.  One of the most difficult aspects of producing any event, is creating the identity.  Identities are challenging, regardless of the event.  But creating two identities per year for a design savvy community, known (thanks to “The Devil Wears Prada”) for its perfectionist attitude, is a feat some would find insurmountable.

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Our very own Andrew Almeter talks shop…and inspiration.

What was the inspiration for this season’s design?

“There was a lot of pink and red in the fall 2011 collections, so I picked up on that color trend and worked closely with the fashion illustrator, Gladys Perint Palmer who created original drawings for the event branding. I established brand standards for the event when it moved to Lincoln Center, so that has carried over from season to season with some creative changes to color and illustration.”

What carry overs are there from the previous seasons?  What part of the identity is recognizable for the consumers?

“The event graphic standards consist of typeface selection and a radial grid of lines based off the pattern on the plaza at Lincoln Center, and also reference the runway. These elements are re-interpreted each season, so the attendees/consumers pick-up on their consistent presence. The MBFW logo is also very prominent each season. We also used illustrations for both seasons in 2011, but will most likely be turning to new images in 2012 to keep the branding fresh and interesting.”

Why does fashion week go forth with a new identity each year? 

“The move to Lincoln Center and changes made within the venues prompted us to rethink how we brand the event and thus create the standards already mentioned. Fashion trends move pretty quickly, so I think that was the original inspiration for changing the event graphics each season, but ultimately the client and I saw a lot of value in creating some consistency from season to season to better establish the event’s prominence on the world stage.”
What was your favorite fashion week identity?

“I love what we’ve done in Lincoln Center and the evolution of the event brand from Bryant Park, but one of my favorites was for the Spring 2009 collections. The shows were in September 2008 during the height of that historic, Presidential campaign, so the branding played off political buttons and posters using fashion verbiage and imagery. Fashion and politics usually don’t mix and we had to be very careful not to come across as promoting one of the candidates or parties, but it was witty, a lot of fun, generated buzz and tied in with the national discussion. Isn’t that what you want when you go to your own closet?”

So there you have it.  As with any identity, the events identity’s needs to hold interest, speak to the consumer and constantly engage them in relevant conversation.  For an industry founded in artistry but driven by fickle consumers, what more can be done than to dazzle and amaze, season after season.  Thank you for keeping us on our toes and bravo to another beautifully executed season!

*Images supplied by Getty Images

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