We are right in the middle of Fashion Month. Twice a year, four major fashion capitals, New York, London, Milan, and Paris, take turns promoting their apparel industries. While you can trace the origins of the fashion show all the way back to Louis XIV and his life-size fashion dolls, the modern fashion calendar has its roots in the rise of ready-to-wear manufacturing during and after the second World War.
In its simplest form, a fashion show is a when a designer makes a presentation of sample garments for the proprietor of the store. During the presentation, the proprietor selects which garments she thinks will be most likely to perform well in her store, given what she knows about her customers and their tastes.
Because it takes approximately half a year for a collection to go from sample garments to mass produced clothing hanging in a store, a fashion show is like a peek into the future of what will be available for purchase--and by extension, what we will be wearing--six months from now.
So at its core, a fashion show is a business-to-business (B2B) event that end consumers could be blissfully unaware of. Imagine a bunch of people talking material fabrications, lead times, minimum order quantities, and payment terms. About as exciting as listening to your mother-in-law describe last night's dream in detail (unless you're a hardcore apparel production nerd).
But at some point along the 70-odd year history of the fashion show, magazine editors and reporters started receiving invitations to the party. And as press coverage became more and more important to the brands' bottom lines, the competition for attention from the media became ever more fierce. The result is an arms race of wacky stunts put on for jaded journalists.
While those theatrics are thrilling, what about the damn clothes? They get lost in the mix. Which is why I love the street style circus that has flourished in the interstitial spaces between events.
Street style is where fashion meets urban infrastructure. How do women with access to the best and most au courant clothing dress to impress for what is essentially a day at the office?
Sure, some of them pop around the corner, out of sight of the cameras, and swap their sky-high heels for practical flats. But when you're scheduled to attend 10 shows in one day, you don't have a lot of time for wardrobe changes. So it's always a treat to see what they are wearing.
And an even bigger treat when there are bikes in view. The Spring/Summer shows are the best chance for spotting cycle chic and the most recent shows in New York did not disappoint.
From shimmering metallics, lush velvets, and ornate gloves, check out more of the trends that are sure to make a comeback this fall.