It looks like at least one publication is looking to squeeze a few more miles out of new guard blogger/celebrity versus old guard fashion show war stories. The Guardian today published a story that turned a well-reasoned decision by Oscar De La Renta to cut back on shows and attendees into one in which De La Renta “calls for a halt to Fashion Week’s celebrity circus.” And while a lot of designers may publicly nod their heads at such a sentiment, privately they probably have a more nuanced view.
The more noteworthy trend, revealed by De La Renta last week in an interview with WWD, was his plan to cut back on show invites for his Spring 2014 collection for NYFW, a direction driven in large party by his decision to stage just one show for Spring 2014, rather than the two he presented for Autumn 2013. With fewer invitations, he said he plans to focus on attendees who have a need to see the collection and all its real-life nuances in person–no mention of excluding celebrities (for example Rachel Zoe attended Autumn 2013).
Also he feels the mega-show is dated with social media making it possible for those have an interest in the label to “see the show on the Internet 20 minutes later.” De La Renta mentioned, too, that he wanted to be more mindful of causing problems with designers competing for the same models by taking up two spots in a crowded fashion week schedule. “I hate to inconvenience other people, as I hope other people wouldn’t want to inconvenience me,” he said.
While much has been said by a few prominent voices about the chaotic scenes outside of shows and the celebrities that go with them, it hardly seems so awful that there is a huge amount of excitement in the press around fashion for a few weeks twice a year. For designers the issue has never been about celebrities but rather which ones land the invite.
The crazed scene indeed can be rough on more buttoned up attendees who are nostalgic about quieter times, but like everything in fashion, it’s just a trend anyway. Already it feels like the frenzy outside of shows is starting to die down, with well known street photographers complaining that they won’t photograph attendees who look like they’re trying too hard. And while this may seem like a move in a better, more exclusive direction, in reality is it pointing to something more foreboding for the industry?
As well, the cost of presentations always weigh heavy and as social media becomes the new stage, it’s true there isn’t a need to have mega shows, but it’s a delicate balance. How do you maintain the presentation’s very important role as an exciting, theme-setting marketing tool that garners a lot of fantastic free press versus striving for a more sensible and less budget-zapping show setting? Too much excitement may be annoying but the alternative is nothing a designer would hope for.