Tag Archives: Fashion Week

Foes and Follies of Fashion Week – A Technology Takeover

With the close of the major fashion weeks upon us, and a solid month of nonstop collections in our rearview, there is a lot to digest. One thing is for certain, technology and social media are seriously changing the dynamic of Fashion Week  – A Technology Takeover.

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Anna Wintour Waiting For the Start of Marc Jacobs

Without physically attending, one could get a front row view of the shows in real time, get VIP access to the backstage, and see outfits worn by the fashion elite attendees including Anna Wintour and Kate Moss. While you are basking in the glory of never having to leave your sofa to be a part of the clearly glamorous events, you would never guess that secretly, designers are pulling out their hair – cracking under the pressure of trying to satisfy the insatiable thirst for constant newness that has, with the help of technology, picked up to a ferocious speed, causing a whirlwind in its wake.

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Backstage – Victoria Beckham

The Designer’s Demise

What was once a reasonable 4 season collection per year expectation for designers has, with the inclusion of men’s wear, resort, prefall, and a couple of promotional shows around Asia, become a norm of about 10. That is a new collection almost every month. Designers, including Alber Elbaz of Lanvin, were quoted saying  that they no longer have time to go on inspirational outings. How can we expect them to keep creating when they have no time to take a breath from one collection before diving into the next? We have seen designers drown in the fast paced fashion current before (think of the John Galliano breakdown and the suicide of Alexander McQueen, RIP) yet the push for constant newness continues to grow ever more fervent.

Between the various social media networks of the designers themselves and all the fashion blogs, newsletters, magazines, pages, and websites dedicated to giving their fans 24/7 instant updates, the never-before-seen designs at these shows are immediately transported to anyone with access to the internet. Once the looks actually get into the retail stores, they have become old news. This is especially true since fast fashion stores like Zara, Forever 21, and H&M have the ability to knock off these looks simply by having access to these images. By using cheap fabrics, intimidation design techniques, and assembly-line factory work, these stores are able to provide the same look, for cheap and much faster than the real designers.

An i for an eye

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Fashion show images are getting dispersed so quickly that it only whets the thirst for MORE fashion, rather than quenching it. With designers, fashion editors and bloggers dedicated to having the most up-to-date, inclusive and exclusive, images for their social media sites, there was an undertone of distraction as people seemed to only be paying half of their attention to what was going on around them, and the rest on their device.

This becomes even more unnerving remembering a wonderful interview conducted by The Business of Fashion with Lighting Designer and Show Producer, Thierry Dreyfus. In it, Dreyfus discusses the importance of a perfectly executed lighting scheme of a fashion show, how he communicates with designers for weeks beforehand about the feel of the collection, and how he personally positions all the lighting for the event. Seeing the sea of little rectangle boxes of glowing light as attendees hold up their devices, trying to capture the looks via Polyvore, Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook really makes one wonder how much is being taken away from the experience of the live show because everyone’s focus is in the cloud. On top of that, as was the case last year, many chose to hold up their device to capture the finale, rather than applaud the work of the designer. Not polite.

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Oh, Look At All the Lovely People

Overcrowded with attendees and designers alike, there was a common complaint that too many shows were constricting people’s ability to appreciate the collections. This was particularly true for New York Fashion Week, where the venue, Lincoln Center was nearly bursting at the seams to accommodate the fashion elite. A few smart designers actually found alternate space for their shows – including Marc Jacobs who showed at the 69th Regiment Armory and Jason Wu who showed at 82MERCER.

Crowds swarmed outside venues with photographers and bloggers taking pictures of street style for their blogs and social media sites. Designers and editors were annoyed. Renowned designer and President of the CFDA, Diane Von Furstenburg even made an off-hand comment that in the future, Fashion Week may become completely digitalized – no physical attendance required.

What would the world look like if that actually did come to fruition? Would designers still be required to show on a specific date at a given place? If so, how do you keep people from crowding the streets to see a first glimpse? And who gets to go, and who decides who gets to go? If not, then designers could potentially film their show whenever they wanted, taking some pressure off – but how could a fashion week exist without critics and fans getting together and seeing the designs in the ambience set by the designer.

No matter how you look at it, with the increased demand for NEW fashion, NOW, technology has been seriously reshaping the mold of fashion week. In order to take it back, fashion councils may be forced to change the dynamic of the show which would cause an inevitable loss of meaning and context of the collections, and isn’t that the whole point of a fashion show? How do we solve this conundrum?

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Wrapping up Fashion Week – Mistakes, Mishaps, and Marvels of 2013

Not your average fashion week gossip. 

  • Milan’s Misgivings
Backstage at Emilio Pucci RTW Fall 2013

Backstage at Emilio Pucci RTW Fall 2013

Milan’s Fashion Week was most notably the least patronized of the international fashion weeks in both designer showcasing and media attention:

Sometimes “less is more”, just isn’t the case

Compared to NY and London who showcase 10 (London) to 14 (NY) shows per day, Milan couldn’t possibly keep up. The MFW schedule only allows for a measly 2-3 shows per day. Ken Downing, fashion director of Neiman Marcus told WWD shortly after the conclusion of Milan Fashion Week, “They need to condense the calendar to put more shows within the course of the day, or they need to entice other designers to start showing here so that we’re filling this time in with collections that we should be looking at.” (BoF)

Competing with Oscar – If You Can’t Beat ’em, Join ’em

Milan Fashion Week happens to overlap with the fashion-centric red carpet galla that is the Oscars. Even though Hollywood stole most of the media attention away from Milan Fashion Week, the Italian designers managed to  bring the attention back to them without competing with the event;

A NYT article released shortly after this years Oscars revealed that 3 major Italian brands: Versace, Armani, and Valentino represented 75 of the 418 women archived in the NYT. Then there is the addition of all the men clad in Armani Suits. Itailian brands are aware that using the Oscars is a necessary marketing platform, especially since the limelight gets refocused on the event at a time when Italian designers should be headlining news.

  • Click is the new Clap

“Everyone is so busy updating their social media accounts during show finales, they no longer take the time to acknowledge the designers’ hard work.” –(BoF)

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Marc Jacobs New York Fashion Week Audience Sketch

With the addition of the app, Vine mere days before the launch of Fashion week, social media platforms that are so important to fashion brands reached an all-time high. Audience members were so enthralled with keeping up web appearances, that they fail to commend designers in real time, in real life.

No longer are the days when a designer can deduce success by the applaud at end of the show; the real success is in the virtual “shares” and “likes” among the online community.

  • Pretentious Paris

With the rise of young designer initiatives around the globe, experts have been discussing the reasoning behind the lack of support for young, up-and-coming French designers.

Educational Edifices

“In France, fashion is taught like an art,” Ms. Dufour,  longtime supporter of young designers in Paris, told BoF, “It’s been like that for a long time. In England and New York, every one knows it’s an industry. For twenty years or more we have had this problem of [poor] training. French fashion education has to change, they are still focused on the bourgeoisie.”

Haute Handicaps

The tradition of Haute-Couture in France seems to be undermining the ability of French designers to display their personality. French designers who have only shown haute couture are finding it difficult to relate to the wider scope of the fashion scene (most notably discussed was Maxime Simoens’ RTW collection at Paris Fashion Week).

Ms. Dufour says, “Haute Couture is a handicap. It’s a savoir faire, but no more than that. Point of view and personality is what we need [more of] in Paris.” (BoF)

  • Most talked-about shows

– Riccardo Tisci for Givenchy: “the strength of gypsies meets the romanticism of a Victorian feeling.”

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Riccardo Tisci for Givenchy

– Rick Owens for Chanel and Chanel’s “Globalisation” show

– Mary Katrantzou use of digital trickery

– Marc Jacobs scaled back, simple and elegant show for Louis Vuitton

– Hermès intimate show in the library of Lycée Henri IV

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