NEW YORK - The first 2015 spring/summer fashion week of the season opens in New York Thursday with designers pushing the boat out like never before and Ralph Lauren unveiling his collection in Central Park.
The week-long fest of glamour, style and celebrity endorsement will see frenzied fashionistas high-tail it across the city, squeezing in more than 270 back-to-back shows from morning until night.
Dominated by big US designers led by Marc Jacobs and Alexander Wang, emerging talent from Europe, Asia, Russia and the Middle East will snip at the sidelines, hoping for their big break.
Around 30 small shows have already been held, often chances for emerging designers to make their first big American splash - such as Russia's Alina German and Israeli-born Daniel Silverstain on Wednesday.
Pugh goes NY
Among the most hotly anticipated collections are that of Britain's Gareth Pugh, who has deserted the Paris catwalk in favour of New York on a one-time basis only.
Aged 32, he has promised an "immersive live experience" of dance and video.
Never short of imagination, Opening Ceremony is also pushing the boundaries, presenting its collection on Sunday in the form of a 30-minute play co-written by actor Jonah Hill and Oscar-winning director Spike Jonze.
Tommy Hilfiger has promised an "exclusive digital programme" on September 8 and Ralph Lauren is to unveil his Polo collection in Central Park, a first.
The enfant terrible of American fashion, Jeremy Scott, is expected to team up with pop star Miley Cyrus, the queen of publicity and veteran of racy stunts.
After New York, the fashion set will decamp to London, Paris and then Milan, but Diane von Furstenberg, president of the Council of Fashion Designers of America, sees a unique allure this week.
What does NY mean?
"What does New York mean? It means everything is possible, it means 'diversity', a side that is a little more commercial, but another side that is much more open," she told AFP.
President of the CFDA for the last eight years, she said she was excited by the wide number of young, interesting designers showcasing their work in New York.
"I am very proud," she told AFP. "When I look back, we have made a lot of progress. We have a lot of American designers who have become international designers, therefore I am very proud of American fashion."
With the onset of Twitter and Instagram, fashionistas are ever more impatient and BCBG has promised that select pieces will be available for purchase via Instagram and a phone app immediately after its runway show.