New York Fashion Week Power List: 50 People You Need To Know On and Off the Runway

Leah Bourne
New York Fashion Week Power List: 50 People You Need To Know On and Off the Runway
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You’ve heard it before—if you can make it in New York, you can make it anywhere. We think the phrase more than applies to New York Fashion Week too—if you can make it to the top of the New York Fashion Week scene, you are essentially unstoppable (it really isn’t as easy to be Anna Wintour as it looks).
With New York Fashion Week kicking off imminently, we’ve assembled a list of the biggest power players that you need to know. From some of the most revered (and let’s be honest feared editors), to the fashion bloggers who now dominate the front row, to the designers who make the New York Fashion Week calendar what it is.
So how did we come up with our New York Fashion Week Power List? The people included are uniquely successful in their individual professions. We also tried to include influencers in a broad range of categories—from models to retailers to social media gurus. Also on the list are the rising stars we feel confident are the one’s to watch this season.
Click through the slideshow above for our New York Fashion Week Power List: 50 People You Need To Know On and Off the Runway!

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From Lucky magazine editor Eva Chen to the designers behind Proenza Schouler, see who made the cut on our New York Fashion Week Power List.

Glenda Bailey, Harper's Bazaar Editor

One of the most important editors in the business (she's been at the helm of Harper's Bazaar since 2001), you would be hard pressed to attend a major New York Fashion Week show and not see Bailey at her front row perch. Why is she so powerful? When Bailey nods approvingly at a dress coming down the runway it could very well end up on the cover of Bazaar. Enough said.

Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Marc Jacobs

Giovanna Battaglia, Stylist and W Magazine Contributor

Giovanna Battaglia's "official" job may be as a stylist and fashion editor, but she makes our New York Fashion Week power list because of her street style star status. Usually wearing the latest from the runways of Dolce & Gabbana or Prada (or whoever the designer du jour is), street style photographers like Tommy Ton and Scott Schuman of The Sartorialist can't get enough of photographing Battaglia coming in and out of the shows. We don't blame them, and usually want whatever she is wearing.

Photo: Larry Busacca/Getty Images

Erika Bearman, Oscar de la Renta's Director of Communications

Erika Bearman not only holds a key position at one of the most prestigious American fashion brands, she is also the voice behind the highly influential Twitter handle @OscarPRGirl. Her social media influence extends beyond Twitter, and she has used social platforms like Tumblr and Pinterest to bring the De La Renta brand to a wider audience, particularly during fashion week when the brand live-streams its runway show. Be sure to look out for Bearman, perfectly coiffed, getting everyone seated September 10, from the comfort of your computer.

Photo: Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

 Mickey Boardman, Paper Magazine Editorial Director

In an industry that can oftentimes take itself way too seriously, Mickey Boardman has developed a reputation as a fashion editor who isn't afraid to have fun (while sitting front row, of course). Look for Boardman in his signature Lacoste polo shirt and statement necklace during fashion week and let his enthusiasm for fashion rub off on you. 


Peter Brant Jr. and Harry Brant, Socialites

First there were the Hilton siblings and now there are the Brant brothers. The spawn of model Stephanie Seymour and billionaire Peter Brant, you can count on these two to get the party started and to keep it going into the wee hours (even though neither one is 21-years-old yet) usually at a prime perch at Top of the Standard at a designer's after-after party. 

Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

Eva Chen, Lucky Magazine Editor

Eva Chen has been a fashion industry heavyweight for years due to her stint as the Beauty Director of Teen Vogue, but thanks to her recent ascent to the top of the masthead at Lucky magazine, now she is a serious front row power player to contend with. We can't wait to follow along with her fashion week tweets from @EvaChen212 and her Instagram feed during the week ahead.

Photo: John Shearer/Getty Images for Clinique

Claire Courtin-Clarins and Virginie Courtin-Clarins, Socialites

Socialites are better in pairs, and that is why fashion designers can't get enough of the Courtin-Clarins heiresses Claire and Virginie. Look for them in the front row of designer shows including Proenza Schouler and Altuzarra, two of their favorites.

Photo: Chelsea Lauren/Getty Images

Bill Cunningham, New York Times Photographer

"We all get dressed for Bill," Vogue editor Anna Wintour famously said speaking of New York Times photographer Bill Cunningham. Cunningham essentially invented street style photography with his "On the Street" column in the Times, and naturally he is a fashion week regular. Look for him in his signature blue jacket capturing the scene outside of shows and from the front row, where he usually takes his seat at the very last minute.

Photo: Neilson Barnard/Getty Images

Cecilia Dean, Visionaire, V, and V Man Co-Founder

For most of the major fashion editors in the business, fashion is big business. For Cecilia Dean, it is an art happening. Dean is the co-founder and editor of the wildly influential limited-edition magazine Visionaire. To give you a feel for Visionaire, one issue was presented as a puzzle, another as the largest magazine in history at almost 5 x 7 feet. Besides her work on Visionaire, Dean also co-founded the magazine's two more commercial offshoots V and V Man.

Photo: Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week

Cara Delevingne, Model

There is no question that British beauty Cara Delevingne is the model of the moment. And being the model of the moment means only opening and closing the hottest shows during New York Fashion Week. We can't wait to see what runways (and after-parties) Delevingne makes an appearance at this season. 

Photo: Tim Whitby/Getty Images

Ken Downing, Neiman Marcus Fashion Director

For every designer on the planet, landing coveted floor space at Neiman Marcus is about as good at it gets. The man who decides if that happens? Ken Downing, Neiman Marcus' Fashion Director. This New York Fashion Week front row fixture keeps a schedule each season that makes our head spin, which must at least partially explain why we can't get enough of Neiman Marcus' offerings. 

Photo: Chelsea Lauren/Getty Images

Linda Fargo, Senior Vice President at Bergdorf Goodman

Another power buyer, a nod from Linda Fargo, and a coveted spot at Bergdorf Goodman, can be career making for designers. Fargo is renowned not just in her fine-tuned buying skills but also for her signature style and always perfectly coiffed silver bob. The front row would not be the same without her. Also, check out Fargo on StyleCaster's 50 Most Stylish New Yorkers: 2013 Edition.

Photo: Cindy Ord/Getty Images for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week

Billy Farrell, Billy Farrell Agency Founder

Photographer Billy Farrell has been in the nightlife photography business for years, previously working at Patrick McMullan, but when Farrell branched off and started his own photo agency in 2011, he became a true New York Fashion Week power player. It isn't really a party if Farrell or one of his shutterbugs isn't there, we're just saying.

Photo: Billy Farrell/ Farrell/

Ed Filipowski, KCD President

Whether or not you get a seat at Marc Jacobs, Prabal Gurung, Jason Wu (and a myriad of other major New York Fashion Week shows) comes down to Ed Filipowski, his Co-President Julie Mannion, and their team at KCD. Our advice for getting on Filipowski's good side? Play nice early (like way before fashion week) and cross your fingers.

Bridget Foley, WWD Executive Editor

Little known outside of the fashion world, Foley holds enormous clout within it. Her runway show reviews in fashion trade bible WWD make and break designer careers, and most people in the fashion industry look to Foley to dissect what the best of the season is.

Photo: Bryan Bedder/Getty Images

Ron Frasch, Saks Fifth Avenue President

It goes without saying that if you are are a designer, getting the President of Saks on your good side counts in a major way. While most retail executives don't make the New York Fashion Week rounds, look for Frasch in the front row at key shows including 3.1 Phillip Lim.

Photo: Joe Corrigan/Getty Images for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week

Marjorie Gubelmann, CEO Of Vie Luxe, Socialite, and DJ

Plenty of socialites make the New York Fashion Week rounds, but Upper East Side doyenne Marjorie Gubelmman actually shops the runways, making her a true New York Fashion Week power player. With favorite designers including Carolina Herrera and Michael Kors, we have to say, Gubelmann has great taste, and we would too if we could.

Photo: Angela Weiss/Getty Images for Joe Fresh

Cathy Horyn, New York Times Fashion Critic

There aren't many fashion critics left who aren't afraid to tell it like it is, but lucky for us all, Cathy Horyn is one of them. She's referred to Oscar de la Renta as a "hot dog" and has long been banned from Carolina Herrera's show for writing something negative. Still, designers know that a nod from Horyn is the real deal. Many fashion insider's even point to Horyn's glowing reviews of Raf Simons as at least part of the reason he got the top job at Dior.

Photo: Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images for IMG

Marc Jacobs, Designer

It has been said so many times that it has essentially sunk into the fashion week subconscious—fashion week begins and ends with Marc Jacobs' show. It is hard to argue with that logic. The trends that start on the Marc Jacobs runway are the ones that tend to stick, and the fashion industry is always waiting with bated breath to see what this designer super star will show. If that isn't power list status, what is?

Photo: MARTIN BUREAU/AFP/Getty Images

Natalie Joos, Casting Agent, Fashion Consultant, and Blogger

There are scores of people behind the scenes at fashion week that are crucial to making it actually happen and Natlie Joos is one of them. As a casting agent, Joos is the one that decides which models go down the runway for clients including Phllip Lim and Helmut Lang. We also can't get enough of her blog TalesofEndearment

Photo: Who What Wear

Karlie Kloss, Model

It wasn't that long ago that Karlie Kloss was a model to watch at New York Fashion Week. Now she is a bona fide super model, in an era when there aren't many models who manage to break through to the mainstream. We can't wait to see which shows Kloss makes an appearance at this season. 

Photo: Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images

Steven Kolb, CFDA CEO

As the CEO of the CFDA, a not-for-profit dedicated to supporting the American fashion industry, Steven Kolb spends a great deal of energy championing America's emerging designers and spearheading special projects like the Fashion Manufacturing Initiative (an investment fund aimed at revitalizing New York City's garment industry). Not surprisingly, Kolb is also a fashion week front row fixture.

Photo: Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

Ralph Lauren, Designer

While many of New York Fashion Week's buzziest designers oversee relatively small businesses, Ralph Lauren oversees a multi-billion dollar empire, and a public company traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the RL symbol. Many insiders consider an invite to Ralph Lauren's fashion week show (always held at the end of the week) to be the ultimate "I've made it moment."

Photo: Theo Wargo/Getty Images

Mark Lee, Barneys New York CEO

Barneys has long had a reputation as the store that makes the careers of the young designers it stocks. Mark Lee, Barneys' CEO since 2010, is one of the ultimate front row gets during New York Fashion Week for many top designers. And considering we've spotted him at rising star Giulietta's show, you really never know where he might pop up come fashion week.

Cindi Leive, Glamour Editor

As the longtime editor of Glamour magazine, Cindi Leive is the magazine editor that you can always count on to translate what comes down the runway to real women. The fact that Leive always looks impeccable in the front row means that we will happily follow her fashion lead.

Photo: Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

Humberto Leon and Carol Lim, Opening Ceremony Co-Founders

Humberto Leon and Carol Lim are something of fashion legends. They founded Opening Ceremony in 2002, quickly turning it into one of the most influential boutiques in the world. Now there are outposts of Opening Ceremony around the world, the pair shows its Opening Ceremony private label during fashion week, and this season, there is even an Opening Ceremony pop-up market making its debut. 


Aliza Licht, Donna Karan Senior Vice President of Global Communications

Aliza Licht not only decides who makes the cut to attend the Donna Karan, DKNY, and DKNY Mens shows, she is the voice behind @DKNY on Twitter which boasts over 471,000 followers and counting.

Our favorite part about Licht is that she isn't afraid to call out those who step over fashion week boundaries (like, say, requesting a fashion week invite when you don't even work in the fashion industry). She'll also tweet when things aren't going so well (like when the Donna Karan fashion week invites didn't go as planned). Thanks to Licht, fashion week is a whole lot more entertaining than it would be otherwise. 

Photo: Nick Onken/Nick Onken

Sasha Luss, Model

With every fashion week comes a new model to watch and this season it is Sasha Luss. During the Fall 2013 season, she walked in virtually every major show from Alexander Wang to Altuzarra, Balmain, Chanel and Calvin Klein, and this Women Management model is primed to hit the big leagues this season.

Jenna Lyons, President and Creative Director of J.Crew

Besides being one of fashion week's most important influencers, Lyons is responsible for making it cool to love a mass-market fashion brand. Lyons brought J.Crew to the fashion week tents in 2011 (a pretty unprecedented move) and the presentation quickly became one of fashion week's biggest draws. One year even Beyonce showed up. Enough said. 

Photo: Mike Coppola/Getty Images

Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez, Co-Designers of Proenza Schouler

Jack McCoullough and Lazaro Hernandez ascent to the top of the fashion pack is something of legend. They founded Proenza Schouler in 2002 while students at Parsons School of Design and Barneys New York famously bought their senior thesis collection. Cut to over a decade later, and the duo continues to be stars of the New York Fashion Week scene (albeit more seasoned ones). Their show, which takes place on the second to last night of fashion week, is always a seriously coveted ticket.

Photo: Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

Leandra Medine, Founder of The Man Repeller

The front row at fashion week is no longer just reserved for major magazine editors and buyers, top bloggers have also secured a key place, including Leandra Medine. Medine, behind the blog The Man Repeller, not only writes about what she sees from her front row perch (in her typically hilarious style), but is a serious fashion week street style star to boot.

Photo: Larry Busacca/Getty Images for Dolce&Gabbana

Suzy Menkes, International Herald Tribune Fashion Critic

There aren't many people in fashion who are worth holding the show for, but Suzy Menkes, the longtime fashion critic at the International Herald Tribune, is definitely one of them. Look for Menkes in the front row, sometimes with a laptop on her lap (now that is a serious reporter) with her signature bumpit hair style. Yes, she really is the original Snooki, and we love her for it.

Photo: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

Deborah Needleman, T Magazine Editor

Deborah Needleman has been playing musical chairs at the top of major mastheads for a while now—she founded Domino magazine, went on to run WSJ. magazine, and is now at the New York Times' T. From putting Rooney Mara on the cover of T recently, to sitting front row at Marc Jacobs, to having a must follow Twitter handle (@debbieneedles), Needleman is definitely one to know come fashion week. 

Photo: Thos Robinson/Getty Images for Ralph Lauren

Mazdack Rassi, Milk Studios Creative Director and Founder

Mazdack Rassi founded Milk Studios almost 16 years ago, and now the Meatpacking District space is a hub of creativity from fashion shows to fashion shoots. In 2009, Rassi launched M.A.C. & Milk Fashion Week, an alternative for designers who couldn't afford to show in the Lincoln Center tents, offering free space and sponsored shows for designers who made the cut.

Photo: Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images for Soho House

Terry Richardson, Photographer

Given that Terry Richardson is one of the most in-demand photographers in fashion, it is not surprising that he is also one of fashion week's front row regulars. Spot him at shows including Marc Jacobs and Rodarte, wearing his signature Moscot glasses, of course.

Photo: Getty Images/Getty Images for Bulgari

Carine Roitfeld, CR Editor and Harper's Bazaar Global Fashion Director

The former editor of French Vogue Carine Roitfeld has retained her title as one of fashion's most distinguished front rowers thanks to a new post as Harper's Bazaar as Global Fashion Director (she's in charge of doing fashion editorials across the brand's various international editions) along with the launch of her namesake magazine CR. It really wouldn't be fashion week without feeling pangs of jealously after spotting Roitfeld in the most perfect of outfits sitting front row—one of the million and one reasons she made the cut on this list. 

Photo: Julien M. Hekimian/Getty Images

Andrew Rosen, Theory CEO and Fashion Investor

Andrew Rosen is not only the CEO of Theory (where he was responsible for bringing on Olivier Theyskens as Creative Director) and the CEO of Helmut Lang (which Theory owns) Rosen is also a revered fashion venture capitalist. Rosen invested in Proenza Schouler in 2011, and has since been considered a major power player on the business side of fashion. All eyes are on what he might invest in next.

Photo: Cindy Ord/Getty Images

Pierre Rougier, PR Consulting Founder

The New York Times dubbed Pierre Rougier as the fashion publicist not afraid to say no, so it goes without saying that Rougier can be tough when he needs to be (likely a quality his top clients adore about him). With clients include Proenza Schouler, Rag & Bone, and The Row, you better stay on Rougier's good side to score coveted invites come fashion week.

Lauren Santo Domingo, Vogue Contributor and Moda Operandi Co-Founder

Lauren Santo Domingo proved that she is much more than just a pretty face with a great sense of style when she co-founded Moda Operandi a ‘pre-tail’ site, offering customers early access to covetable runway looks just days after they make their appearance on the catwalk. Santo Domingo has always been a fashion week regular, but now she is one of its biggest power players.

Photo: Larry Busacca/Getty Images

Lynn Tesoro, HL Group Founding Partner

The number of shows that fashion powerhouse PR firm HL Group puts on during New York Fashion Week will make your head spin: Oscar de la Renta, Rebecca Taylor, and Bibhu Mohapatra among them this season. At the center of HL Group's success is Founding Partner Lynn Tesoro. We don't know how she manages to always keep her cool between putting together invite lists, seating charts, and a multitude of other moving parts that go into staging a fashion show, but a major hats off to her.

Tommy Ton, Photographer

Wait outside of a fashion show these days and you will be surrounded by a legion of street style photographers looking to capture what fashion week attendees are wearing. At the top of the heap is Tommy Ton, whose close-up shots of bags and shoes on the streets of fashion week are not to be missed.

Photo: Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for Salvatore Ferragamo

Valentine Uhovski, Tumblr Fashion Director

Between bloggers and social media gurus there is clearly a new wave of serious power players at fashion week and Valentine Uhovski, Tumblr's Fashion Director, is among them. Tumblr, the preferred blogging platform of the fashion industry, is pairing some of its favorite bloggers with industry insiders this season for a photography project. We can't wait to see the results. 

Photo: Katy Winn/Getty Images

Diane Von Furstenberg, Designer and CFDA President

Yes, Diane Von Furstenberg the designer needs no introduction, but Von Furstenberg's other role as CFDA President is yet another reason to bow down to the Queen of the Wrap Dress. Beyond staging her own runway show (one of the toughest fashion week tickets to get a hold of) you can also spot Von Furstenberg front row at various young designers' shows, like Prabal Gurung's, championing their work.

Photo: Theo Wargo/Getty Images

Guido Palau, Hair Stylist

This British born stylist is the man behind the hair at some of fashion week's biggest shows including Marc Jacobs. Fun fact: Palau's big break was when he styled the hair for supermodels including Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista, and Cindy Crawford in George Michael's Freedom! music video in the 1990s. 

Photo: Tullio M. Puglia/Getty Images

Alexander Wang, Designer

Sure, Alexander Wang's New York Fashion Week show is one of the week's toughest tickets (along with his annual after-party) but this designer's star has only been on the rise since being appointed Creative Director of Balenciaga (one of the few Americans to be at the helm of a major French label). 

Photo: DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images

Gucci Westman, Makeup Artist

As the Revlon Artistic Director, Gucci Westman is responsible for the makeup each year at major fashion week shows including Oscar de la Renta and Rag & Bone. In other words, women look to Westman to see which lip color they should be wearing. Fun fact: Westman is married to Rag & Bone designer David Neville. Now that is a serious fashion power couple.

Photo: Jason Kempin/Getty Images

Anna Wintour, American Vogue Editor

“There is something about fashion that can make people really nervous," Vogue editor Anna Wintour has famously said. Well, that something is arguably her. Considered the most important person in fashion by many, designers live for Wintour's approval, which often comes in the form of her attending their fashion week show.

Photo: Rob Kim/Getty Images for The Mark Hotel

Kate Young, Stylist

Everybody is calling themselves a stylist these days, but Kate Young is the real deal. Besides working with major celebrities for red carpet appearances including Michelle Williamson and Natalie Portman, she styles a select group of fashion shows, including friend Jason Wu's. 

Photo: Neilson Barnard/Getty Images

Bryan Yambao, Founder of and TV Personality

Bryan Yambao, better known by his pen name Bryanboy, started blogging in 2004 from his bedroom in Manila. Cut to less than a decade later and he is sitting in the front row at fashion week shows around the world. Brands now clamor for recognition from Yambao, particularly now that he is a mainstream star thanks his role as a judge on America's Next Top Model

Photo: Cindy Ord/Getty Images

Joe Zee, Elle Creative Director

Fashion week for Elle Creative Director Joe Zee is more than just a week, it is an entire month, and we can't help but feel exhausted following along with his tweets from the runways of New York City, Paris, and Milan. Still Zee, who The New York Times dubbed "Fashion's Approachable Ambassador" manages to always have a smile on his face as he dashes from show to show. Now that is fashion power at its best.

Photo: Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images

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