See by Chloe’s pre-recorded catwalk show, which went on air yesterday, raised the question about the future of fashion shows. A case of live versus digital.
For a label like See by Chloé, this format more than did the job. The clothes are designed to be off-the-peg wearable – this is not couture – and the styling, hair and make-up reflected that. This line is not intended to change the face of fashion, but that shouldn’t invalidate it – there are many shows cramming the schedules of all four major fashion weeks in the same vein.
What is the point of fashion shows then? It enhances the mood of the collection, enticing its audience into an other world. They are live events. A performance with a director, cast, soundtrack and a narrative structure. A live catwalk show is theatre, which can leave you energised at the end of it and make you feel like you have partaken in something special.
Now, this whole live versus digital debate is not new. In 2010 Hedi Slimane said in an interview with Style.com,
I like the ritual, the liturgy of a well-crafted, emotional fashion show. I will never be jaded with this side of fashion. The “catwalk” is pure anthropology, something like an esoteric encrypted parade. It can totally be replaced but it will be missed. Archaisms do have some reassuring charms, unless the Internet is used creatively, and in a poetic way. The problem is also the number of brands that insist, for vanity or desperation and beyond common sense, to squeeze into the endless fashion weeks of the world for the wrong reasons. Some of them would benefit from different methods to present their collections.
So unless designers have a strong idea to express and communicate, digital could be the better way to go. It will save the designers a lot of money and, at the same time, still reach a big audience through social media.
There is an entire generation of people whose eyes are trained digitally – it’s how they view fashion. We need to look at our industry and ask how we can cater to that, as well as maintaining the integrity and credibility of fashion while making our lives easier. This way, we can hopefully offer a creative way of offering a front row experience to more than just the usual elite few. This way everyone gets the fashion knowledge.
What are your thoughts on the future of the catwalk show?