NOSTALGIA

What New York Fashion Week Looked Like in 1999

Model on the runway at Michael Kors fashion show in Bryant P
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Once again, it’s New York Fashion Week. And while there will assuredly be some standout moments on the runway, there’s a sense that many aren’t quite as enamored with the week’s sum total of spectacle as they used to be. Whether you blame it on Instagram, influencers, or the growing number of labels that have decamped to Paris—the most recent of which, unfortunately, is Telfar—nothing about Fashion Week seems to be more interesting at the moment than seasons past. Even members of the CFDA seems nostalgic for NYFW 2009, which featured free, open-to-the-public concepts like the decade-old Fashion’s Night Out. And yet, a jump back another decade into New York Fashion Week’s origins—what was then known as simply “Press Week” came to be in 1943—is even more jarring. Was there really once a time when Donatella Versace and Alexander McQueen both chose to show in New York; when Renée Zellweger and Yoko Ono chose (or obliged) to sit side-by-side in the front row; when the runway played host to none other than Donald Trump? Well, yes; here’s plenty of proof circa 1999, starring McQueen himself at the center of his label’s finale, dropping his trousers to reveal a pair of boxers emblazoned with an American flag.

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Naomi Campbell backstage at the Tommy Hilfiger fall/winter 1999 show during New York Fashion Week, February 1999. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

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Carmen Kass walks the runway of the Versus by Versace spring/summer 2000 show during New York Fashion Week, September 1999. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

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A model walks the runway of the Alexander McQueen spring/summer 2000 show during New York Fashion Week, September 1999. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

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Madonna attends the Versus by Versace spring/summer 2000 show during New York Fashion Week, September 1999. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

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Models walk the runway of the Marithe & Francois Girbaud spring/summer 2000 show during New York Fashion Week, September 1999. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

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Kate Moss walks the runway of the Marc Jacobs spring/summer 2000 show during New York Fashion Week, September 1999. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

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Models walking the runway for the finale of the Calvin Klein fall/winter 1999 show during New York Fashion Week, February 1999. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

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Gisele Bündchen walks the runway of the Michael Kors spring/summer 2000 show during New York Fashion Week, September 1999. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

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A model walks the runway of the Tomasz Starzewski fall/winter 1999 show during New York Fashion Week, February 1999. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

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A model walks the runway of the Alexander McQueen spring/summer 2000 show during New York Fashion Week, September 1999. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

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A model walks the runway of the Vivienne Tam spring/summer 2000 show during New York Fashion Week, September 1999. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

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Kimora Lee Simmons walks the runway of the Marc Bouwer fall/winter 1999 show during New York Fashion Week, February 1999. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

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Rudy Giuliani and Donald Trump walk the runway of the NYC2000 fashion show in Times Square during New York Fashion Week, September 1999. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

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A model walks the runway of the Nicole Miller fall/winter 1999 show during New York Fashion Week, February 1999. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

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Naomi Campbell and Kate Moss attend the Marc Jacobs spring/summer 2000 show during New York Fashion Week, September 1999. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

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A model walks the runway of the Vivienne Westwood spring/summer 2000 show during New York Fashion Week, September 1999. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

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A model walks the runway of the Randolph Duke spring/summer 2000 show during New York Fashion Week, September 1999. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

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A model walks the runway of the Richard Tyler spring/summer 2000 show during New York Fashion Week, September 1999. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

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Amber Valletta walks the runway of the John Bartlett spring/summer 2000 show during New York Fashion Week, September 1999. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

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A scene from the main Sixth Avenue tent of New York Fashion Week spring/summer 2000 in the midst of Hurricane Floyd, September 1999.

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Naomi Campbell walks the runway of the Marc Jacobs spring/summer 2000 show during New York Fashion Week, September 1999. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

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Donatella Versace walks the runway for the finale of the Versus by Versace spring/summer 2000 show during New York Fashion Week, September 1999. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

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Andie MacDowell attends the Tommy Hilfiger fall/winter 1999 show during New York Fashion Week, February 1999. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

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A model walks the runway of the John Bartlett spring/summer 2000 show during New York Fashion Week, September 1999. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

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Betsey Johnson walks the runway for the finale of the rehearsal for her fall/winter 1999 show during New York Fashion Week, February 1999. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

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Kate Moss walks the runway of the Versus by Versace spring/summer 2000 show during New York Fashion Week, September 1999. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

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Yoko Ono and Renée Zellweger attend the Matt Nye spring/summer 2000 show during New York Fashion Week, September 1999. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

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Camryn Manheim walks the runway for the finale of the Lane Bryant fashion show at the Manhattan Center in New York City, June 1999. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

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Spike Lee and Tonya Lee Lewis attend the Versus by Versace show during New York Fashion Week, September 1999. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

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Gisele Bündchen walks the runway of the Marc Jacobs spring/summer 2000 show during New York Fashion Week, September 1999. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

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Julianne Moore and Rupert Everett attend the Versus by Versace spring/summer 2000 show during New York Fashion Week, September 1999. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

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Carmen Kass walks the runway of the Ellen Tracy spring/summer 2000 show during New York Fashion Week, September 1999. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

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A model walks the runway of the Anna Sui spring/summer 2000 show during New York Fashion Week, September 1999. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

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Alexander McQueen drops his trousers on the runway of his spring/summer 2000 show during New York Fashion Week, September 1999. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

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A model walks the runway of the Vivienne Westwood fall/winter 1999 show during New York Fashion Week, February 1999. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

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Gisele Bündchen walks the runway of the Versus by Versace spring/summer 2000 show during New York Fashion Week, September 1999. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

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Models walk the runway of the Marithe & Francois Girbaud spring/summer 2000 show during New York Fashion Week, September, 1999. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

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John Oszajca and Lisa Marie Presley attend the Marc Jacobs spring/summer 2000 show during New York Fashion Week, September 1999. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

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Gisele Bündchen walks the runway of the BCBG spring/summer 2000 show during New York Fashion Week, September 1999. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.