In less than two weeks, Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week kicks off its sophomore season at Lincoln Center. While the event’s temporary home—with its faux-travertine facade, courtesy of a snugly fitting plasticene tarp—is being erected between the sliver of plaza between the David H. Koch Theater and the Metropolitan Opera House, we’ll take this opportunity to size up the eight-day extravaganza’s recently finalized schedule. There are 16 newcomers to the MBFW fold this season, including Christian Cota, Tess Giberson, and Frank Tell, an extraordinary talent who promises to transcend recession-stifled cocktail dressing with a fall 2011 line-up that is less precious. “Women don’t want to buy something they will only wear once and then sit in their closets,” says the designer, who last year (at Milk Studios) dazzled us with a luminous runway backdrop that winked at the work of Dan Flavin. “What is needed are extraordinarily crafted pieces that can be worn in an everyday way.” Another label that we’re particularly pleased to see making its MBFW debut is Sachin + Babi, helmed by textile visionaries and embroidery specialists Sachin and Babi Ahluwalia who have parlayed their luxe line of home furnishings into ready-to-wear. Also among those storming the tents for fall are Project Runway alum Irina Shabayeva, Alexandra and Kristen O’Neill‘s Porter Grey label, Elene Cassis, and GUiSHEM, designed by Latin American designer Guillermo Jop.