New York—What’s happening behind the scenes at New York Fashion Week may just be the most innovative thing about the key fashion event.
Last Friday, designer Tom Ford abruptly cancelled his New York fashion week show. Instead, he plans to show—and sell—his fall/winter collection simultaneously during NYFW in September.
“Fashion shows and the traditional fashion calendar, as we know them, no longer work in the way that they once did, said Tom Ford, long considered a bellwether figure. “Our customers today want a collection that is immediately available. Fashion shows and the traditional fashion calendar, as we know them, no longer work in the way that they once did.”
Not to mention, the predominance of social media and instant access to next season’s designs only fuels knockoffs that appear in fashion fast retailers’ shelves often ahead of the real thing.
Ford’s announcement came on the heels of Burberry’s choice to show its men’s and women’s collection in two shows a year with “seasonless” lines immediately available to purchase on the Internet.
The CFDA, which organizes New York Fashion Week, has hired business consultants BCG to look at the problem of presenting collections four months in advance of hitting retail, and the possibility of switching seasons.
Said designer Diane von Furstenberg, CFDA chairman: “Something’s not right anymore because of social media, people are confused … Everyone seems to feel that the shows being consumer-driven is a very good idea.”
Others speculate that NYFW, once an oasis for retailers and the legitimate fashion press, has become no more than another club opening, complete with hangers on, wannables, bloggers, gate crashers and the like. A point spoofed by late night host Jimmy Kimmel in his “Lie-Witness News” video.
In a scathing article in The New York Post on Monday, Hannah Elliott, luxury reporter for Bloomberg, decried the dilution of NYFW.
“I noticed it [the other night] at the opening party for men’s fashion week,” she says. “Seemingly all of the people there were publicists and bloggers. Even as recently as five years ago, fashion parties were filled with downtown kids, artists, models and designers. But the whole thing has changed,” Elliot said.
“She’s not alone in finding Fashion Week a bit stilted. As the women’s shows get ready to launch on Thursday, editors, designers and other insiders are saying the whole thing has become passe,” stated the Post.
“Fashion shows have become a way to communicate to the media, and the same journalists cover both womenswear and menswear,” said Exane BNP Paribas analyst Luca Solca. “Hence, it makes a lot of sense to combine the two, as you save money in the process and you can make a louder bang with your bucks.”