There’s been a ton of talk about the seismic shifts in the fashion universe of late. Not just that Creative Directors are quitting so quickly I’m starting to wonder if Zoolander inadvertently resurrected McCarthy, Beetlejuice steez. But that everyone from BOF to WWD to Vogue seems convinced that Fashion Week is over, and there will be some sort of new delivery system for our sartorial fixes (intravenous, perhaps?).
It’s nonsense. It’s not that Fashion Week is antiquated, it’s that we’re looking at it the wrong way. It used to be called press week. But that was back when the press needed most of that 5-month long lead. These days we see the collections as quickly as Anna, and half the show invitees could literally be replaced by tripods and an insta-post IG script.
Vetements deciding to eschew Fashion Week in favour of biannual shows that ignore both gender distinctions and seasons makes perfect sense. They’re small, hyper-focussed, and make limited quantities. It should be available instantly, as it will sell out by Tuesday (bringing a whole new meaning to ‘prêt-à-porter’). But why in the world would Tom Ford quit Fashion Week? TF, with his $6000 hoodies, is about inspiration. Pardon me. Aspiration.
Runway shows need to be about the spectacle. The sheer and utter celebration of a lifestyle. It’s not market or press interaction. It’s living advertisement. Lagerfeld gets this. The five-figure prices of basically everything Chanel sells are put into relatively sharp perspective by the eight-figure extravaganzas that are his shows (Chanel Supermarket, anyone?).
Others from the old school are still on board. Look at Calvin Klein. How else would we remember that the brand might still be cool, two decades on from nothing separating Brooke Shields from her Calvins? That #mycalvins campaign where Future, Bieber, and Kendrick madlib may play to the suburbs, but the real prize is that photo of Emily Ratajkowski looking downright classy (yeah, I said it) while still being demi-déshabiller at the afterparty.
Fashion Week isn’t going anywhere. We just need to realize that while we were sipping bubbles at Le Baron it recontextualized itself. No longer should the catwalk strive to have us yearn for this piece or that (since our collective attention span is about 6 seconds, not 6 months).
Don’t bother trying to sell it to us. Just shake it a little bit. We’ll take care of the rest.