Fashion Show Venues Made Simple

Fashion show venues is Canoe Studios’ bread and butter come autumn and spring!

We’re in the business of turning “dream events” into realities, and nowhere in our broad spectrum of event hosting is that more obvious than our fashion show venues. These lavish (albeit logistically-demanding) events are often massive and complex productions that require fashion show venues with experience, equipment, space, flexibility, resources, and the know-how to turn a tall order into a day’s work.

So, what are all the ingredients in Canoe’s secret recipe for an unforgettable NYC fashion event venue? We’ll dive into all of the unique elements, tips, and tricks we know to host the best fashion shows in the world.

Berta Runway Show at Canoe Studios

What Are the Various Types of Fashion Shows?

To start, there are actually two distinct categories of fashion show venues: runway shows and presentation shows. Both flavors come with their own unique challenges and set of demands, so from a fashion show venue perspective, we see them as two completely different events that happen to share a common theme.

Runway fashion shows are usually anchored around one very long platform that models will walk back and forth, often with seating completely surrounding the stage. Other, more modern variations may have a snaking pathway that’s movable through the event venue space. In either case, people are often seated and passive spectators.

A presentation fashion show, on the other hand, is a less-structured, contemporized version of a fashion show where models will stand in various positions or places around a room — sometimes on risers, sometimes doing short/casual “runway walks,” sometimes in groups. 

Compared to the more traditional runway show, presentation shows don’t have one central stage, opting instead to sprinkle models throughout the venue for a more active and immersive viewing experience

marchesa bridal at canoe studios fashion show venue nyc
Marchesa Bridal at Canoe Studios

What Does Hosting a “Runway Fashion Show” Entail?

A runway fashion shows tend to be quite short: the modeling itself typically only lasts for 15 or so minutes, and there generally aren’t other supplemental activities or socials beyond the model walk. As a result, these events tend to be more straightforward and require fewer special requests and event coordination.

When we’re approached to host a runway fashion show, clients usually have a pretty specific idea of what they’d like and only rely on us to fill in logistical blanks such as lighting and layout.

That’s not to say there isn’t still room for creativity! Depending on the designer or brand, our studio is happy to visualize any interpretation of what a runway show and fashion show venue can be! This has been the traditional format for a reason, and we’re proud of our ability to get as creative, theatrical, contemporary, or brand new as you want to be.

Canoe Studios fashion show venues nyc
Simone Zimmermann at Canoe Studios

What Does Running a “Presentation Fashion Show” Entail?

Whereas runway fashion shows are quite short and sweet, presentation fashion shows are closer to “events,” running around 3-5 hours on average and often resembling lavish cocktail parties. 

Planning a presentation fashion show venue involves a lot more personalization, meaning there’s both more logistical planning and creativity. We’ve seen just about everything: models hanging from the ceiling, models on rotating platforms, you name it. Clients need to know where lighting for the various micro-stages and invisible runway paths will be, where to stage a back of house, and how to sometimes accommodate multiple designers within the same space. 

Because Canoe Studios is known for some of NYC’s most amazing product launches, cocktail parties, and corporate events, our fashion show venue clients have confidence that they can rely on our creativity and experience to accommodate their vision and help them plan the best show possible.

What is the Busiest Time of Year for Fashion Show Venues and Events?

NYC is where fashion season begins! The biggest brands and designers often host shows in NYC before moving along to Paris, Milan, and London, both in the fall and the spring.

September is one of the busiest months on the calendar year for fashion show venues for that reason. Bridal shows, resort-war shows, men’s fashion week, and top designer fashion weeks all fall within the month of September. 

Canoe Studios is perhaps best known for hosting some of NYC’s biggest bridal presentations, including A-list clients like Marchesa and Berta Bridal.

Canoe Studios fashion show venues nyc
Marloes Stevens for Hailey Paige

Do Fashion Show Venues Typically Include Food or Beverage?

Food isn’t very common at fashion show venues, the rare exception being longer presentation-style fashion shows that run into the evening.

Beverages, however, are more common, especially for some of the more prestigious and heavily-sponsored brands who will be partnered with other prominent wine or champagne brands. Cocktail bars are sometimes arranged to accompany these events as well, but wine and champagne are much more common.

What is Canoe Studio’s #1 Tip for Clients Considering Fashion Show Venues?

If you can, do a walkthrough! We can’t stress the importance of this enough: if you’re capable of seeing the space ahead of time, you absolutely should.

It’s not simply to get a better sense of the dimensions or the space itself, but it’s an absolutely integral part of the creative process. Forgive us if this inspires an eye roll, but we really believe in it and just about any client you speak to who’s taken the time to do a walkthrough will attest to what a difference it makes.


We pride ourselves in being able to visualize and accommodate fashion show events of any size, scale, or budget. Our professional, highly-experienced event coordinators work personally with each designer to uniquely configure lighting, audio, set decoration, camera gear, drapes, and anything else that needs to be decided and organized.

Ready to make your fashion show event dreams a reality? Give us a call today and we’d be happy to talk through your needs and bring your fashion show to life!