New York fashion is not just a pretty Facebook

Front row seats by the catwalk may give the most bragging rights, but for watching New York Fashion Week this year, there's a more accessible, not to mention comfortable option: your home sofa.

Linked-in fashionistas only have to wait for the urgent SMS: "Hurry the Vera Wang show is starting soon." And a minute or two later, with the laptop screen up and on, they're able to watch the famed designer unveil her latest outfits live.

Livestreaming may be common these days, but in the closed world of high fashion it's something of a brave new world.

More than 100,000 people are attending New York Fashion Week's spring 2012 collection, according to organizers, but hundreds of thousands more are following the action online.

Some 30 shows are being shown live on the Internet in New York and for the first time the streaming can also be accessed on mobile phones.

Each morning, YouTube site http://www.youtube.com/liverunway lists that day's menu. For Tuesday, there was on offer Badgley Mischka at 10:00 am, Vera Wang at 11:00 am, Herve Leger at 2:00 pm, Tibi at 7:00 pm, and finally Narciso Rodriguez at 8:00 pm.

"This is a tremendous opportunity to bring designers shows' to a much wider audience," said Christina Neault, executive producer of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week.

Twitter is also helping to lift the veil thanks to enthusiastic micro-bloggers right at the Lincoln Center runways.

"LeAnn Rimes first row with Audrina Patridge. I wonder what they are talking about"? a gossipy blogger tweets from the Badgley Mischka collection, where the country singer and actress are turning heads.

The show has barely started before the Twittersphere is buzzing with previously guarded secrets of the new collection, right down to the details of the yellow dresses and metallic belts.

"I am in Barbie's paradise," one enthuses. "I would classify it as Barbie chic," another responds. Another contribution to this discussion comes from someone watching at home: "vintage and very sexy."

But there's no time to dwell on the Barbie-fication of Badgley Mischka, because it's already time for Twitterdom to take in Vera Wang.

"Beyonce just sat in front row," one Tweet boasts. Another name dropper chimes in by reporting the presence of former US secretary of state Madeleine Albright.

Of course if you miss all the live excitement, you can catch up by heading to www.firstcomesfashion.com.

Some designers save everyone the trouble by simply showing their collections live on their own sites. Check out Oscar de la Renta (http://odlrlive.tumblr.com) or Milly de Michelle Smith (millyny.com).

Many others are on Facebook, which Lacoste used to show its six million followers the New York show.

The buyers won't be left out either. Duby Novak came from Brazil, where she has several clothing shops, and avidly filmed proceedings with a mobile phone.

Immediately, she was able to sift through the new collections, then update her blog, and start thinking about what to buy and take back to Rio.

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