Sometimes I think God wants there to be a circus so we can show there’s another way to respond. —Tony Dungy
We knew that this season of fashion weeks was going to be a bit of a circus. With everyone changing which season they were showing and how they were showing it was inevitable that there would be some confusion and chaos. What we couldn’t know was exactly how that confusion and chaos would take shape and who would end up being the clowns in this circus and who would be the lion tamers. While events don’t officially start until today, yesterday gave us a pretty good preview of what we can expect.
Is This A Fashion Show?
There is a lot of experimentation going on this season. Many people feel that the traditional runway setup just doesn’t connect the way it needs to. As a result, we found ourselves looking at some things that we weren’t quite sure were an improvement. At least with a traditional runway, there’s no question as to what is happening. Models + clothes + runway = fashion show. Taking away the runway doesn’t seem like it would be that big a different to the total equation, but it turns out that maybe we need that element a little more than we thought.
Two examples spring to mind. Rachel Comey presented her 15-year anniversary collection yesterday morning. She wanted to give us a back-to-my-roots kind of feeling, so she staged her show right out on the sidewalk. Not kidding. There was a FedEx van in the background of most the runway shots I saw. Guests were seated in white folding chairs perched between doorways and around scaffolding. This left models just enough room to walk carefully in front of them. The only problem is that Comey’s every-day-woman style left passers-by wondering what was going on. Was this a fashion show or just a rehearsal? It was also difficult to tell where the fashion show left off and normal well-dressed pedestrians began.
Another example would be Misha Nonoo‘s Snapchat-exclusive presentation. The show was presented through Refinery 29’s Snapchat account, which was probably chosen for its high number of followers. However, the pieces of Nonoo’s collection were posted separately and at various times throughout the day. I don’t normally keep Snapchat up and running all day. Every time I looked at a new segment I wondered if I was seeing everything or missing a snap. The drawings on top of the photos were distracting as well.
Poof, The Stream Is Gone
Labels that show before the official start of fashion week have to handle all the elements of that presentation themselves. This includes any live streaming they might wish to attempt. Recent changes in Facebook’s Live option led a couple of yesterday’s designers to give that a try rather than paying for real cameras and stuff. I can be rather sympathetic to some degree. Professional live streaming is incredibly expensive, especially when more than one camera is involved. Being able to eliminate that cost helps keep the budget a little bit lower.
However, it also makes the streaming much less predictable. None of the Facebook streams we were watching started on time. In fact, not all of them ever started. Twice we waited, and waited, and waited over an hour before finally giving up. The one we did see was very poor quality, broadcast from an intern’s phone we’re guessing, and then mysteriously disappeared in the middle of the presentation. Perhaps the phone ran out of battery.
Streaming has never been the most reliable technology. A lot can go wrong under the best of circumstances. Trying to short-cut the process doesn’t seem to generate positive results.
They’re Doing WHAT On Roosevelt Island?
I’m going to have to choose my words carefully here because I have a filter on my browser that blocks any mention of a certain pseudo-celebrity family that I find particularly annoying. Unfortunately, one of the loud-mouthed members of that family fancies himself a designer. He’s not, really. This is where the circus just gets ugly. It’s only the family’s disturbingly close relationship with Vogue’s Anna Wintour that continues to provide them with any major attention. Everyone else stays as far away from the cluster fuck as possible. Nonetheless, he presented what he is calling Season 4 right smack out in the middle of Roosevelt Island.
Wait, Roosevelt Island? You mean that largely-forgotten strip of land in the middle of the East River? Yep, that Roosevelt Island. The one that was never meant to accommodate too terribly many people because it’s only 800 feet wide and its most broad point. The one that contains a tribute to FDR, for whom the island is named, at the South end. There’s barely room to stage a picnic on Roosevelt Island, let alone a fashion show.
They tried. It sucked. From models having to remove their shoes to walk to guests arriving after the presentation, the whole thing was one giant failure. Again. We keep hoping the so-called designer will stop. No one needs that many different shades of tan.
A Safe Place To Hide
We tend to think of a circus as being a spectacle that no one can miss. However, a circus can also be a good place to hide. While everyone else is watching the clowns, one can go off and do their own thing without anyone else noticing. Or, perhaps disappear without anyone noticing.
When Wednesday’s schedule first came out, Herve Leger by Max Azria was scheduled for that afternoon. Some time Wednesday morning, however, that entry disappeared. We checked both the brand’s Facebook page and their website and there’s no mention of the show’s cancellation. There’s no mention of the show at all.
This made us curious so we started looking for Azria’s major label: BCBG. Nope, that’s not on the schedule for this season, either. Anywhere. Both are gone. This raises our suspicions a bit. While everyone knows that Max’s wife, Lubov, has done most the creative work the past several seasons, Azria has still kept his hands on the reigns. Could the 67-year-old designer be in ill health, or could all the chaos of this season have forced the labels to take a step back and wait? There are also reports of clothing orders placed on the website being cancelled without explanation.
Perhaps there’s a dark side to this circus.
Grab The Popcorn
No matter what the problems, a circus always manages to be entertaining and this one is no different. We’ve already posted our first review of last night’s Tom Ford presentation on Pattern. There is a lot more to come. Remember, Tommy Hilfiger is staging an actual carnival on Friday night. This may be the craziest circus we’ve ever seen. Grab your popcorn and enjoy the show.