Fashion News Alert: Will Project Runway Bite the Dust?, Sonia Rykiel Liquidates, Donna Karan Is Back, and NYFW: The Shows Spring 2020 Preliminary Schedule

PROJECT RUNWAY — Season:17 — Pictured: (l-r) Brandon Maxwell, Karlie Kloss, Christian Siriano, Nina Garcia, Elaine Welteroth — (Photo by: Miller Mobley/Bravo)

In case you were not aware, “Project Runway” season 17 had the lowest rating of all the previous seasons.  Even with the addition of Christian Siriano and Karlie Kloss as the hosts, the show received no 2019 Emmy nominations, a first in 15 years. “Karlie is a delight, but without Heidi [Klum] and Tim [Gunn], it just changed the dynamic of everything,” says an insider.

Karlie only has another year on her two-year contract and with the show’s low ratings, it is up in the air if she will return. Remember, Karlie is a supermodel and her busy schedule keeps her working all the time.

Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn left their hosting jobs at “Project Runway” to launch their Amazon show “Making the Cut” with Naomi Campbell, Nicole Richie, Carine Roitfeld, and Joseph Altuzarra. “Project Runway” was revamped by a move from the Lifetime channel back to Bravo with new hosts Karlie Kloss and Christian Siriano and new judges Elaine Welteroth, and Brandon Maxwell.

When asked for a comment on the state of “Project Runway,” a Bravo spokesperson detailed that there is, “no truth” the show will discontinue. “Ratings were strong and grew week after week, and there continues to be major support for the show from the network. We are excited about the next season, which is currently in production, and for many more after that.”

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Bye, bye Sonia

The French fashion house, Sonia Rykiel, is folding. After having difficulty finding a buyer, a French commercial court is liquidating the company. Head designer Julie de Libran left the company in March and the company went into receivership in April.

Established in the late 1960s, Sonia Rykiel was known as the “Queen of Knits,” making it fashionable for Parisian women to be seen in less formal styles of dress. Her “Poor Boy” sweater was made popular by film icon Audrey Hepburn.

Sonia Rykiel died from Parkinson’s Disease in 2016 at the age of 86. Five years before her death, her company was acquired by First Heritage Brands. Victor and William Fung, the Hong Kong billionaires that backed the acquisition, pumped millions of dollars into Sonia Rykiel, but the company continued to lose money.

With there being only one lone bidder for the iconic French fashion house, a commercial court judge rejected the lone bidder, forcing the company to liquidate its assets.  Additionally, the company’s archives, intellectual property, and its six stores across France and Monaco will all be sold.

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Donna Karan teams up with Kenneth Cole

Just when we thought Donna Karan was done with fashion and putting her efforts into designing her urban furniture collection, Urban Zen, Karan puts her foot back into the fashion pool. Karan has teamed up with Kenneth Cole to design a limited-edition, 10-piece shoe collection that sheds light on Haitian artisans.

“We’re bringing Haiti’s rich artisan culture right to your soles,” Cole announced via Instagram, unveiling the collection on Instagram. While Karan wrote: “Kenneth and I share our heart and soul with Haiti and now Soles.”

Local workshop owner Pascale Théard Créations has brought this collaboration to life by bringing Haitian leather-making traditions combined with Kenneth Cole’s comfortable soles. The shoes will also feature such details as fringing, embroidery and braided straps.

“Hopefully it becomes an ongoing sustainable business,” Cole told Vogue, as detailed in  We’re making these in very limited quantities to start. We want them to be a vehicle for telling the story of this community.”

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A reduced NYFWS

The CFDA has released its preliminary calendar for New York Fashion Week: The Shows (NYFWS) spring 2020 season. And it is slim pickings.

Incoming CFDA Board Chairman Tom Ford has reduced NYFWS from eight days to six days. “We listened to feedback from both the domestic and the global fashion industry to tighten and strengthen the Official New York Fashion Week schedule,” said Steven Kolb, President and CEO of the CFDA. “I am excited for the strong September lineup which will continue to showcase and celebrate the creativity and diversity of American fashion.”

The 75-plus designers that will be showing is a major reduction from the 400-plus fashion designers/brands that would present during NYFWS ten years ago. Missing this season from the roster is the large amount of Asian emerging brands that had become a mainstay of NYFWS. Also missing from the lineup is Monique Lhuillier, John Varvatos, Nanette Lepore, Zang Toi, Tadashi Shoji, Public School, Tracey Reese, Milly, Thakoon, Philip Plein, and many others.

Back on the roster for the spring 2020 season is Vera Wang and Tommy Hilfiger after a few year’s absence. Hilfiger will present his ‘TommyNow’ fashion explosion at the famed Apollo Theater on September 8. Marc Jacobs will close NYFWS on September 11.

New York Fashion Week: The Shows runs from September 6 through September 11.

—William S. Gooch

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