The 2011 resort season began last week, treating fashionophiles to another round of design from minds of Karl Lagerfeld, John Galliano and the like. Also known as Cruise collections, resort shows are (in theory) designed for the cold, post holiday time of the year when privileged people spend the winter season on tropical islands, yachts, and cruise ships. It's one of those odd moments in the fashion calendar when the clothes you see on the runway actually reflect what might be appropriate for the current climate - and yet, they won't be available until the weather goes frosty again.
The bizarre sartorial schedule might have made sense before - when magazine editors needed half a year to digest, report, and print their coverage of each season. And it must be said that the fashion elite that attended shows reveled in knowing what was coming far in advance of the general public. Technology - a la Facebook, video streaming, and blogs - has changed that forever. For the new generation of fashion followers, who see new collections the very moment that editors and buyers do, seasonal influences and trends are getting all muddled. Further, what happens when the public mood changes from the time clothes are shown to the time they hit the stores? Any American that was older then ten in 2001 certainly knows what that feels like. Isn't fashion suppose to have it's finger on the pulse?
This sentiment is echoed in an a recent interview by Style.com with Lanvin designer Alber Elbaz. The cult icon also expressed the feelings of frazzled frustration that he and his colleagues experience while trying to keep up with producing 6 collections per year.
"When I go out sometimes to this kind of fashion event and I see other designers, I see that one of them has a pain in the back and the other one has a migraine and the third one is exhausted, because we are going through this process that is endless," Elbaz said of the demanding fashion show schedule. "And I think that today editors are feeling the same way, because they have to travel the world season after season and just see and write the reviews in a taxi where they don’t have the time to think about it. Whatever you see today is maybe not what you really feel tomorrow."
Click here to read the interview, which is part of a series entitled "The Future of Fashion."
Well said, Elbaz. I might think the creamy pastel colors seen at Chanel, Dior, and Bottega Veneta (above, L to R) are quite yummy now, but will I think the same next January when I'm sunning myself on the riviera? The issue has been much discussed this year, but has yet to be definitely resolved.
Designer Ralph Lauren has experimented and had great success with "direct-to-consumer" shows, for which eager beavers can purchase clothing and accessories immediately after seeing the presentation (online). Meanwhile Tommy Hilfiger is upping the ante and flipping indie designers the proverbial bird in the process. He wants to move to two shows for every season - one for trade and one for consumers. “The small guys,” he said, “wouldn’t be able to afford it. But the larger, global brands would benefit.”
There are a few things that might annoy about Hilfiger's statement - not the least of which is that it won't solve the problem of the frazzled designer/editor/buyer/etc. While a move to a more retail-oriented schedule seems almost inevitable, not everyone is on board with the revolution. According to an article by WWD, Marc Jacobs and others feel the shows are timed just fine, while Karl Lagerfeld says they should be even earlier.
What do you think about the fashion calendar? Tell us your thoughts!