“We call Jenne [Lombardo] the fashion fairy godmother—she’s amazing at putting creative people together,” said Nomia designer Yara Flinn last night at the W Union Square, where the hotel group was hosting its Fashion Next bash for Flinn and the rest of the designers in the program. Lombardo, W’s global fashion director and host for the evening, was on hand, along with the likes of Waris Ahluwalia and DJ Chelsea Leyland.
“Talent will only get you so far in this industry,” Lombardo told Style.com. “You also need a strong sense of business. We help them with that extra boost,” she explained of the program, which supports emerging designers. This week, they will host presentations for Fashion Next labels Suzanne Rae, Nomia, Haus Alkire, and Rochambeau. Bibhu Mohapatra, also a participant in the program, is set to stage his first runway show next week. “I’m ready to see things come to life,” he said. “We just did the second round of castings and I’m really excited—we have some beautiful girls walking the runway.”
As for post-show plans? The designers agreed market sales are first on the agenda, but that doesn’t mean all work and no play. “I’ll steal away to my little house upstate,” revealed Mohapatra. Meanwhile, Lombardo waxed pragmatic about fashion week’s parade of parties. “Every night we let loose and every morning we go to work,” she deadpanned. “It’s a high-stress, maximum-impact job, but you’ve got to take it with a grain of salt.”