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What you need to know about New York Fashion Week

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New York (AFP)

New York Fashion Week starts on Thursday, kicking off this year's catwalk season. Here is everything you need to know about the autumn-winter 2020 shows.

- Oscars clash -

The 92nd Academy Awards take place on Sunday, bang in the middle of Fashion Week, far from ideal scheduling for an event trying to recover from several underwhelming seasons.

Designers purr when celebrities sit front row at their shows, but actors and actresses are more likely to be in Los Angeles enjoying Hollywood's biggest party of the year than in New York.

Scott Studenberg and Margherita Missoni have opted to showcase their 2020 fall collections in LA instead of the Big Apple, as they try to tap into an Oscar buzz.

Even Tom Ford -- chairman of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA), which helps run Fashion Week -- has plumped for heading out west.

"There is an excitement in LA on that particular weekend and the relationship between film and fashion is a strong one," Ford, 58, told Women's Wear Daily website recently.

- Notable absentees -

Several other famous designers are skipping New York too, despite organizers sticking to a reduced five-day schedule, introduced for September's spring 2020 showpiece, in the hope of attracting big names.

Some commentators had suggested that New York Fashion Week was hot again after the return of high-profile stars such as Tommy Hilfiger last autumn.

However, the momentum appears to have lost steam with loads of top designers choosing to unveil their new collections at London, Paris or Milan instead.

Ralph Lauren, Hilfiger, Jeremy Scott, Kerby Jean-Raymond of Pyer Moss, who produced one of the standout shows in September, and Tomo Koizumi are among those missing this week.

Rihanna's Savage X Fenty lingerie collection is also taking a runway break.

- Headline grabbers -

Despite the absentees, there are certainly enough big names to keep fashionistas happy.

Marc Jacobs, Michael Kors, Carolina Herrera, Vera Wang and Oscar de la

Renta are all presenting.

And Rag & Bone, whose show is set to feature AI-generated content, is back at New York Fashion Week for the first time since 2016.

There is also a host of promising young designers that buyers will be keeping an eye on.

Vogue magazine has tipped Kee Kim, Olivia Cheng, Tia Adeola's and Kenneth Nicholson to shine.

Other up-and-comers to watch include Sies Marjan, Eckhaus Latta, Monse, Gabriela Hearst and Brandon Maxwell.

New York diversified in recent years and this season's lineup includes Sukeina's Senegalese creator Omar Salam, Grenadian designer Fe Noel, LaQuan Smith and Christopher John Rogers.

- Coronavirus fears -

In recent seasons, New York Fashion Week has opened its doors to Chinese designers, who have attracted buyers and social media influencers from China, as it tries tap the lucrative market.

But a cloud hangs over their involvement this year due to the deadly coronavirus.

The CFDA says it has no information about possible show cancellations and Chinese fashion houses such as Mukzin and Sheguang Hu have said their parades would go ahead.

But it's a moving feast after Chinese fashion houses Angela Chen, Ricostru and Hui canceled runway appearances at Milan Fashion Week because of the virus.

They said they could not take part in Italy as factory closures have stopped them from finishing collections in time for the event, which begins on February 18 and runs to February 24.

Around 1,000 Chinese buyers, journalists, stylists and other industry staff are also going to miss the event, Italian officials have said.

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