These days everyone gets a bite of the apple

PUBLISHED : Friday, 17 February, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 17 February, 2012, 12:00am


New York Fashion Week has kicked off with a bang, with Old World Hollywood glamour evoking bygone eras. But now that Facebook, Twitter and live blogging of fashion shows are becoming more and more common, has the catwalk format has lost its mystique? Many labels are now streaming their runway collections as they happen, so any fan can sit in his or her bedroom and experience the show.

The reporters and editors who fly thousands of miles to sit in the audience are no longer the lucky few tastemakers who get to dish out their interpretations to the public. Internet democracy and mass communication have well and truly changed the industry. The floodgates of immediate runway shots have opened. But is this a good thing? Wouldn't we all prefer a decent edit?

At New York Fashion Week this season, the schedule has been packed with more and more labels appearing on the scene. At times there have been as many as eight shows around the city in the same time slot. It has thrown into question whether these expensive, large shows are the best format for presenting luxury fashion to buyers and the press. Unless there is something spectacular, sometimes you are left wondering where the mystery and the magic have gone. Some labels have already turned their backs on the huge mass format presentations in favour of something more exclusive and experiential. Remember Tom Ford's eponymous womenswear label debut last year for a select crowd of about 100 with no press photographers allowed? That caused a greater sensation than if he had been friendlier with the press.

When Berluti's menswear collection had its debut at Milan Fashion Week last month, the heritage shoemaking house also chose an intimate presentation rather than a conventional runway collection. Some designers in London are taking note, too, such as Stella McCartney, who in a few days will show off her collection in a more intimate format. A few others are following suit. Whether you might be a fan of this depends on your approach to luxury fashion. Do you prefer to stay exclusive, or do you celebrate branching out? Does spreading the word too much ruin the experience? Ultra-luxurious old-school labels such as Loewe might think so.

Overstimulation is a dangerous thing. I try to limit the number of images I take in. I don't want to lose interest purely because I'm not filtering. Sometimes when everyone sees hundreds of catwalk shots a day, it just ends up being a blur of bodies and blouses.