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Runway Show Guests Hoard Fashion Week Freebies

By Serena Solomon | September 15, 2011 4:10pm

LINCOLN CENTER — There is nothing stylish about greed, but at New York's Fashion Week some of the fashion pack take more than their fair share of gifts from runway shows.

It is a tradition at Fashion Week for designers to lavish their guests with gifts; everything from bottles of perfume to expensive cashmere sweaters and even umbrellas. While more seasoned fashionistas selectively accept a few presents, others take and even steal whatever is left behind.

"There are a few that are well-known here, that just hang around the front row, swoop into a seat right before the show starts just to get the bag," said Alexander Liang, the Editor-in-Chef of KENTON Magazine. "You see them around with 10 bags in their hands."

While Liang said the downturn in the economy might mean no electronics as gifts, designers still used giveaways to sweeten buyers and tempt editors into giving good press.

For Cindi Congi, a teacher from Astoria, Queens, a bad experience at last years Anna Sui show meant she was extra cautious this year.

"Someone actually took the bag right off my seat, right in front of me as I was about to sit down," she said. This year she clung to her gift bag, which contained mascara, a detailed book about the collection and the designer's new fragrance.

Donna Karan was particularly generous with a full bottle of perfume and an expensive cashmere sweater. Vera Wang gave all her guests a bottle of her perfume. Other designers and brands chose to give some very useful gifts. VLOV gave out business card holders and Designer Shoe Warehouse (DSW) cleverly handed out flat shoes, giving relief to the tired, high-heeled fashionistas.

While many outside the fashion industry would gush over many of the gifts, for insiders the novelty of gifts fades fast. Dana Supnick, who is a fashion, beauty and style PR consultant, concluded there just isn't enough room in her apartment to accept everything.

"I have gotten to the point where if I know I am not going to use it, I don't even take it," she said.

For more New York Fashion Week coverage click here.