Unusual New York Fashion Week locations: from courthouses to subway stations and sidewalks

A look at some of the most unexpected venues to host a NYFW runway show this season

Fashion designer Tom Ford walks down his runway, following his spring / summer 2020 show in an abandoned New York subway on Monday, September 9, 2019. AP 
Fashion designer Tom Ford walks down his runway, following his spring / summer 2020 show in an abandoned New York subway on Monday, September 9, 2019. AP 

Galleries, warehouses and museums are the traditional hosts of runway shows, oft blank canvases that can be transformed to match the designer's vision for their upcoming season. This year, designers at New York Fashion Week seem to be eschewing classic spaces, opting for left-field locations. So far we have seen models walk through abandoned subway stations, across tennis courts and around courthouses, to name just three of the spots designers have displayed upcoming wares at this fashion month...

Tom Ford's abandoned subway station

Only Tom Ford could entice fashion's finest down a precarious three-story walk to the rails of an abandoned subway station, which is exactly what he did on Monday, September 10. The designer displayed his spring / summer 2020 collection to an A-list crowd that included Miley Cyrus, Ansel Elgort, Anna Wintour and Diane von Furstenberg, with a supplementary audience of Delancey St and Essex St Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) workers in safety vests who stood watching on the tracks.

“This season for me is about simplicity,” Ford said of the collection and his show location. “Which is not to be confused with simple. I think that it is a time for ease, and in that way a return to the kind of luxurious sportswear that America has become known for all over the world.”

Get a full look at the space ahead of the runway show here:

Sies Marjan in a working courthouse

A municipal building doesn't typically scream high fashion, but civil servants arriving for work at the Surrogate's Courthouse in lower Manhattan would have been in for a treat this week, as Sies Marjan took over the space for its SS20 show. The collection was an explosion of colour, which perfectly contrasted the vast, open marble space.

The show's rainbow finale captured the drama of the room perfectly:

Here is a look at the space, when the fash pack isn't occupying it during fashion week:

Carolina Herrera in the great outdoors

A transparent tent was erected in Battery Park, where the Venezuelan fashion house showcased its latest collection with a lush, green backdrop. Wes Gordon has created a range inspired "by the California super bloom", making the park a fitting setting to showcase bold, voluminous yellows, pinks and reds.

Maryam Nassir Zadeh on a tennis court

A sunken tennis court in Sara D Roosevelt Park was the setting for Maryam Nassir Zadeh's show. The Lower East Side location meant it disrupted daily life, with kids playing football across the park, and families gathered around to watch.

This is not the first time the New York designer has chosen an athletic location. For her SS18 show in September 2017, Maryam Nassir Zadeh took over a football pitch-adjacent to a running track in New York's East Village with Solange providing the music. Unlike this year's, the 2017 version was a guerrilla show, meaning the fashion world's finest turned up completely unannounced.

Gypsy Sport at a rooftop bar

A plant-lined rooftop bar in the Lower East Side made a perfect setting to show Gypsy Sport's futuristic and beach-ready new line. Known for its lively atmosphere, it's likely that the chic set hung around to keep the party going after the show wrapped.

Jonathan Simkhai on a New York rooftop

esigner Jonathan Simkhai made Gypsy Sport look almost mainstream with its rooftop bar location. The Los Angeles-based designer got the fashion world to descend (or ascend) upon a random rooftop, with a crane and scaffolding urban backdrop.

Get a better look at the metropolitan surrounding buildings, which overlooked the show, here:

Collina Strada on a sidewalk

The pavement is a perennial runway, a fact only made more real with the ever increading number of Instagram editors and models, who walk it in couture creations on a daily basis. Leaning into the new modern mode of style, Collina Strada transformed a stretch of path lining Stuyvesant Square Park into a bustling market and runway show.

The fashion house, helmed by Hillary Taymour, has been recognised for its politically charged shows in the past, which have covered everything from racism to global issues in their themes. This season's was no different, tackling style sustainability and inclusivity. The egalitarian location, with onlookers watching on from the park, is a nod to the latter, while the crowd being sent away with goods from the market place certainly covers the former.


Read more:

New York Fashion Week: All the celebrities on the front row at spring / summer 2019 shows

In the Vanguard of fashion: meet the four emerging designers Net-a-Porter is throwing its weight behind this season

From mannequin parades to robotic models: the evolution of the fashion show


Published: September 10, 2019 05:52 PM


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