Audience members use smartphones and cameras to photograph the Herve Leger by Max Azria fashion show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Spring 2015 at Lincoln Center in New York, U.S. (Photographer: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg)

Why New York Has Fashion Week

(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Without Fern Mallis, the creator of New York Fashion Week and this week's guest on Masters in Business, New York's fashion industry might have continued muddling through with an annual fashion program that lacked centralized planning or coordination -- dozens of locations all over the city created a logistical challenge for fashionistas. This was unlike the polished annual affairs in Milan and Paris.

Mallis, who in 1991, had just started at the Council of Fashion Designers of America, tells the story of attending a Michael Kors runway show in an empty loft space in Chelsea. When the show began, the thumping bass made part of the ceiling come loose and it soon was crumbling onto the assembled mono-name supermodels. The fashion media headlines the next day, she said, read: “We live for fashion, we don’t want to die for it.”

Out of that mess, Mallis led the effort to create Fashion Week. It was a singular moment for the city's fashion industry, and has since grown into a huge media event and economic contributor to the city.

Mallis now hosts a series of interviews with high-profile designers at the 92nd Street Y, collected in the book “Fashion Lives: Fashion Icons With Fern Mallis.”

Her favorite books are here; a transcript of our conversation is posted here.

You can stream/download the full conversation, including the podcast extras on iTunesBloombergOvercast and Stitcher. Our earlier podcasts can all be found at iTunesStitcherOvercast and Bloomberg.

Next week, we speak with Joseph Davis, Vanguard Group’s global chief economist, and head of Vanguard Investment Strategy Group.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.

Barry Ritholtz is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist. He founded Ritholtz Wealth Management and was chief executive and director of equity research at FusionIQ, a quantitative research firm. He is the author of “Bailout Nation.”

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