It’s been almost a month since fashion month began. It’s been an interesting journey as spring/summer 2015 collections were shown in New York, London, Paris and Milan. Interesting as in the criticism and backlash various cities received from the fashion press regarding the quality of their shows in comparison to years past. Nonetheless, it was nice to see that all the major capitals were on board with the Seventies trend, which will be making a major impact in global fashion next spring.
The shows in New York proved to be to be innovative in terms of introducing wearable technology at the shows this year. Opening Ceremony and Rebecca Minkoff were two designers that teased the release of wearable technology into the marketplace, with a New York Fashion Week premiere date. They are posing a challenge to the rest of the designers with releasing something so subjective to consumer opinion. Many designers are taking this into consideration, as they are taking into account whether wearable technology will be a viable product market for their brands. The projected numbers for the market in general say it is supposed to grow. We’ll have to wait for a response in February for the fall season.
Additionally, the New York shows features many different, more comfortable silhouette for their garments, calling it “relaxed chic.” American consumers have been longing to see something new, which New York provided, if “new” is considered to be a point in the rise and fall of particular trends over the course of fashion history. Looser and layered silhouettes began making its runway debut in February for this fall and winter season. Emphasis is placed on excessive layering and layering longer silhouettes over each other. Flat shoes are back, as well as midi and maxi hemlines. Skin tight clothing is no longer seen as something appealing; it is all about the loose trouser and tunic. This is invigorating from the retail standpoint because it caters to more body types and is something that can be worn by almost anyone, not just someone who is super slender. In a world where women are on the go almost constantly, they want comfortable, but also stylish clothing. Loose fitting silhouettes and flat shoes are perfect for catering to that type of lifestyle.
Some critics said that New York fashion didn’t seem innovative and creative enough. They found the designers in New York didn’t take enough risks. That being said, they did take enough risks to be noticed by the buyers and editors; they like the new longer and more voluminous silhouettes and even appreciated the redundancy of the sportswear that grazed the runway once again.
London showed exciting and inventive collections even though critics bashed the collections for not being editorial material. What differentiates London from the rest of the fashion capitals is the experimentation the designers take in their clothing. The designs have a one-of-a-kind feel to them, something quirky and something only the Brits can pull off. Criticism for the London shows was if their clothing collections were too commercial, and not editorial enough.
Some designers such as Christopher Kane, Giles, and Jonathan Saunders showed collections that had a good balance of being sellable, but also being great editorial content. On the other hand, there was debate as to whether it was innovative enough, as compared to years past. Where London is usually the most innovative show of the four capitals, this year is was lacking, and a probable cause is the economy. It could also account for why the collections bordered commercial rather than editorial.
London has the reputation of taking risks and showing interesting and innovative garments on the runway, but lately their garments have gone in the opposite direction. Rather than exciting and new, they were rather mundane, causing journalists to ask what British style really is. Essentially, British fashion is known to be the craziest of them all, which seems fitting since they are home to the most world renowned fashion schools. The designer’s were willing to experiment, but they went terribly wrong and was unresponsive by the crowd.
Personally, Milan is my favorite fashion week of them all. There is just an ease of sophistication and classiness with the designers that show, but still having that edge and sex appeal. The collections in Milan were very heavily influenced by trends from the 70s, notably fringe and easy, loose silhouettes. Milan saw little use of pants and more skirts and dresses, giving way to the ultrafeminine silhouette. Many designers showed impeccable fabric construction, using a lot of brocades, jacquards and lace throughout their collections.
The response from the buyers was overwhelmingly positive. They found a lot of the craftsmanship in the garments combined with the loose silhouettes and longer hemlines to be refreshing. They found the looks to be sophisticated, but they still had attitude to them. Buyers believe this is the reconstruction of Milan fashion, as it has become stuffy in the last several years, not showing anything cutting edge and new, but rather traditional and classical.
Another thing to note about Milan, was that rather than the A-list star power that comes to the shows and sit in the front row, it was lacking this year. A possible reason behind that was that designers didn’t want to have to fly out the celebrities and get them fitted. In New York, it was different to where celebrities such as Rihanna and Sarah Jessica Parker made their appearance along with many other A-list celebrities. As much as star power creates buzz for the show, the emphasis may slowly be returning to fashion.
The last city to show during fashion month, Paris remained in sync with the 70s trend that was showing throughout the rest of the world. Buyers were pleased with this, and were optimistic about the collections that showed during the week. There were two sides: the feminine, easy bohemian silhouettes, and then the crisp, tailored silhouettes. Paris also held Jean Paul Gaultier’s last ready-to-wear show, as the designer is going to strictly focus on couture and fragrance. Karl Lagerfeld also went down in the books for staging a feminist protest, in response to Emma Watson’s He For She campaign.
With the variety of silhouettes showing at different hemlines, it will attract a younger audience who happen to be high spenders, who will have just been heavily exposed to the styles of the 70s. The collections also features a high level of craftsmanship, filled with detailed handiwork that digital printing can come no where near producing. The shows were contemporary and offered multiple mini themed within the grand scheme of the shows, which appeal to many different customer bases.
However, some designers were not thrilled with how the week went. Heavy traffic made it hard to navigate the city. Additionally, the Air France strike made the week anything but peaceful for both the designers and the buyers. Some suggested consolidating the big houses to the beginning of the week, and the new, up and coming designers afterwards. Once thing is for sure, that Paris ignited all senses during the week.