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Cocoon above the chaos: American Express Skybox allows cardholders access to New York fashion week

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Project Pie's pizzas have a crust that's slightly thinner and crispier than a Neapolitan pizza. Photo courtesy of Project Pie
Project Pie pizza
Project Pie's pizza lineup includes dessert pies such as this one with banana and Nutella. Photo courtesy of Project Pie
Project Pie pizza
Project Pie pizza

NEW YORK — High above two runways at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, the American Express Skybox is a unique place. It's dubbed "the cocoon above the chaos" for good reason.

Down below, the fashion press and buyers for major retail chains jostle to get to their seats for a show that lasts around 13 minutes. It's cramped and unless you are on the first four rows, it's hard to see what the models are wearing below the waist.

 Since 2007, American Express has offered its cardholders the opportunity to see a fashion show in this way — for a price. The Skybox is open to cardholders who pay $150 each for the one-hour experience.

 
But up here, at the top of the tents at Lincoln Center in a space that resembles a nice living room, the atmostphere is considerably more civilized. Guests sip champagne, nibble on hor d'oeuvres, watch the fashion show and talk afterwards with the designer or a major fashion expert.
 
Since 2007, American Express has offered its cardholders the opportunity to see a fashion show in this way — for a price. The Skybox is open to those who pay $150 each for the one-hour experience ($250 for two back-to-back shows, which last around two hours).
 
On the afternoon I dropped in, about 24 guests watched the Custo Barcelona and Diane von Furstenberg shows. Council of Fashion Designers of America executive director Steven Kolb gave an insider's view of fashion during a question-and answer-session. During the week, designers Tadashi Shoji, Jill Stuart, Richard Chai and Rebecca Minkoff have appeared after their runway shows to talk with the select audience.
 
Before instituting the program, American Express surveyed customers about what type of activities they were seeking and discovered that a lifelong dream of many cardholders was to go to a fashion show.
 
"We realized we have a huge group of customers with an incredible passion for fashion," said Sarika Sangwan, senior manager of Global Sponsorship and Event Marketing. "We want to deliver a memorable experience."
 
The program has been so successful that American Express offers it for most shows during fashion week. The company also hosts a unique runway show each fashion season exclusively for cardholders.
 
After the last official fashion week show is held on Thursday, AmEx will take over the tents for a special showing of Tommy Hilfiger's spring collection, with an appearance by "The Hilfigers" — a fictional family that has been the subject of an extensive ad campaign.
 
The show will also include a performance by the electropop group Cobra Starship.
 
Tickets are $50 -$250. The top price ticket includes front row access and a post-show reception with Hilfiger.
 
Guests at all ticket levels receive a $100 gift voucher that can be used at the Tommy Hilfiger New York flagship store on Fifth Avenue, which will be open after the show, or at stores in SoHo and Miami, through March 17.
 
For more information about the Hilfiger show or a number of other fashion and entertainment offerings, click here.

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