Although rain washed out yesterday’s preview ride, it was fun to imagine cruising the bike lanes on these creations. Starting today and running through Sept. 15, one-of-a-kind bicycles by 30 leading fashion designers are available to the public to borrow free of charge. It’s all part of the Tour de Fashion bike share program sponsored by the Fashion Center Business Improvement District to honor the home of American design and to support cycling, which is booming in New York City, as eco-friendly transportation.
Despite the soggy weather, a crowd of designers, fashionistas and media gathered to admire the bicycles, painted, wrapped and trimmed with embellishments such as jewels, feathers, flowers and buttons, under the tent beside the Broadway bike lane between 39th and 40th Streets that serves as the rental station. The bikes, by Bowery Lane, are made in New York.
Designers drew creative inspiration for the bikes from a wide variety of sources. Betsey Johnson, who donned a helmet for her close-up (hurray Betsey!) festooned her bicycle with garlands of laminated photographs of family and friends. “My life,” she says cheerfully.
Project Runway winner Gretchen Jones, a regular cyclist, says, as an eco-conscious designer, she was drawn to organic materials. Thus, her bicycle is clad in wood and incorporates the arrows and chevrons that viewers of last season’s Project Runway will recognize as her signature.
Maxwell Osborne and Dao-Yi Chow of Public School customized their design to resemble a Checker cab. “We’re a New York-based brand, and we try to own that,” says Osborne, noting that since the designers usually favor dark colors, this project offered the opportunity to inject color into a design. Adds Chow, “We can never get a cab during Fashion Week, but now everybody has a chance.”
A bicycle fit for a maharaja or maharini was the task that jewelry designer Amrita Singh set for her design. The handlebars are lined with sets of her bangles and a bejeweled bell. Her favorite feature of the bike? “The colors!” she says.
Get complete rental details at www.tourdefashion.com. Following Fashion Week, the bicycles will be auctioned to benefit the Council of Fashion Designers of America’s Fashion Incubator, which helps emerging designers launch their lines. You can start bidding now for a unique bike at charitybuzz.com.