Fashion, London College of Fashion, Writing

As part of the research for an investigative feature I'm writing, I interviewed fashion writer and historian Sara Idacavage. Sara currently works at Parsons School of Design and writes frequently for Fashionista.com. The feature seeks to investigate the development of the fashion show and what it will look like in the future. Once I have finished writing the full feature I will publish it here.

Scroll down to read the interview ...

Front row in the 1960s

Front row in the 2010s

How important is it to stage a fashion show for a brand today?

Surprisingly important! It may seem counterintuitive for brands to spend millions of dollars staging fashion shows when they know that they probably won't make a profit from clothing sales (especially couture), but that's no longer the purpose of fashion shows, as it was in the past. Today, it's widely believed that the true purpose of these highly-publicized fashion spectacles is to attract enough brand awareness to stimulate sales in lower-cost or licensed merchandise, including products like sunglasses, bags, and perfume. The brand's image of stylishness and luxuriousness that's conveyed through extravagant fashion shows becomes somewhat imbued in these (relatively) affordable products, allowing a wide range of consumers to get a "taste" of the brand, or at least what it signifies to them.

Who is the fashion show for?

I'm not sure if there's a clear answer for this question. The sole purpose of the first modern fashion shows at the turn of the twentieth century were to entice wealthy clients into buying a couturier’s latest designs. As time passed, foreign buyers and press agents began to populate the shows, gradually moving the focus away from the couturier's personal clientele. The more that fashion shows have become highly publicized spectacles, the more important it has become to have the audience packed with celebrities and other notable personalities. Now that fashion shows can be viewed by anyone with a smart phone, it's difficult to determine exactly who fashion shows are intended for, as they can provide many things to many types of people, including creative inspiration, commercial profit, self-validation, or just an escape from the reality of everyday life.

What are your theories on what fashion shows will look like in the future?

Although it's hard for me to imagine fashion shows becoming any more over-the-top and spectacular, my optimistic side hopes that we'll see an increasing amount of diversity on the runway, including a wider range of weights, heights, and skin colors. Eventually, I hope that having a "plus size" or transgender model open a show will no longer be as news-worthy as it is today. I also imagine that we'll see an increase in the "see now, buy now" model or " shoppable" runway shows, which allow the excitement of seeing clothing on a catwalk translate into a sense of urgency that sparks instantaneous sales. Although the success and logistics of this approach are still up for debate, it seems like a smart move considering advances in the consumer system as well as the antiquated nature of showing clothes months before they can be purchased.

All the "players" (bloggers, magazines, designers, models etc.) in fashion use social media today, which makes fashion available to everyone. With that in mind, what is the point of having a live show?

In my opinion, catwalks still possess a magical power that transforms "clothing" into "fashion". The way that people use phrases such as "seen on the runway" and "runway trends" is indicative of how the industry (and its players) continue to rely on fashion shows to signify what should be considered "fashion", which is then disseminated through blogs, magazines, and other forms of media. Even if a style has already been around for awhile, it seems like the appearance of the style on a catwalk is still likely to change how the look is perceived, elevating it to a level that is deemed more desirable or noteworthy.

Do you see any issues with the rigid calendar of fashion shows? (Spring, fall and perhaps pre-fall, resort, couture, showing 6 months ahead in most cases)

I think it's hard to deny that there are some issues with the rigid calendar system and the growing need for producing an exorbitant amount of collections and runway shows per year, which has been made clear by designers like Raf Simmons who have spoken openly about the loss of creativity that can be caused by these overly demanding schedules. The current system of scheduled fashion seasons and advanced showings was created in an entirely different era in human history. It's one of those institutionalized things (like Daylight Savings Time) that was initiated at a time when life and technology were very different, and yet we continue to follow the structure today despite the fact that we no longer need to travel to Europe on ships or wait months for a collection to be made and delivered. Although the system has been deeply institutionalized, I do think that it's starting to shift as more brands adopt the "see now, buy now" model, although it would certainly be difficult to change the global fashion week system as a whole since numerous parts of the industry rely on these standardized time tables for economic stability.

Are we seeing the death of the fashion show any time soon?

I don't foresee the "death" of the runway show happening any time soon, although the format and essence of fashion presentations may continue to evolve in new and unexpected ways. No matter how unnecessary they may seem, I can't help but believe that the allure of runway shows simply can’t be replicated by another format.


xx

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Fashion, Writing

This is a piece I wrote a while ago about gender and the colour pink, and how it is perceived in relation to menswear. This was in collaboration with Georgia Masters and her zine Balance. She is a stylist from the styling course at LCF. Together we explored the strong associations made with the colour, while looking into its origins and if the use of colour is diversifying. 

xx

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Inspiration, Art

Change of Seasons

Six Anemones

August Wildflower Convocation

September Wildflower Convocation

Contemporary painter Robert Kushner was born 1949 in California, USA. He is regarded as a founder of the 1970s Pattern and Decoration art movement. His work draws inspiration from European and Islamic textiles, as well as artists including Henri Matisse, Georgia O'Keeffe, Ito Jakchu and Wu Changshuo. Combining organic elements with abstract geometric form, he refers to his work as both decorative and modernist. Florals, layering and collage technique signify most of his painting. “I never get tired of pursuing new ideas in the realm of ornamentation. Decoration, an abjectly pejorative dismissal for many, is a very big, somewhat defiant declaration for me. … The eye can wander, the mind think unencumbered through visual realms that are expansively and emotionally rich. Decoration has always had its own agenda, the sincere and unabashed offering of pleasure and solace." The idea of art as expression, but also boldly as decoration is appealing to visual interpreters. In the visual, there is emotion and as he mentions, pleasure and solace. That is something I look for in art, and a big part of why I love it, like an escape for the eyes and mind.

xx


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Inspiration

​Joseph Sudek (1896-1976) was a Czech photographer active in Prague during the first half of the 20th century. He captured his surroundings in an intimate way, offering the viewer to see exactly what he saw. These landscape photographs were taken during the cold season, and evoke a feeling of winter in Sweden. The naked trees, darkness and frosty atmosphere, remind me instantly of the crisp cold of Stockholm in January. The vintage film enhances the effect of stillness, and I feel a calm nostalgia when I look at them. 

An exhibition of his work was in at Jeu de Paume in Paris recently. 

xx

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General, London

Love these red brick buildings close to Sloane Square.

Palm trees in front of a white Georgian house on Bayswater Road.

​A dusky morning by the Serpentine in Hyde Park.

xx

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Fashion, Inspiration, London

​Barbara Casasola's spring/summer 2017 is an excellent example of how I want to dress during the warmer season. Simple clothes, few accessories - no mess. Something I especially look forward to adapting is the all white shorts and shirt ensemble, and for a dressier option, styled with a white blazer. If the cut and material is up to measure, nothing else is needed. Off she shoulder continues strongly through fall/winter and from what we have seen at fashion week, into spring as well. I love the subtle sensuality of it. Casasola's fit and flare midi dresses are on my wishlist. I like Casasola's collections, the no fuss approach inspire dressing for everyday life.

xx

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Fashion, Inspiration, London

Finding new brands to love is not always easy for me. Finding those under the radar brands that offer interesting designs, an original idea and good quality clothes. Well, originality isn't a must, don't know if there is such a thing anymore, but at leasts sticks out of the crowd. So many brands are started on a bandwagon, and others are too try hard, while some just fail to grip. With that said, I'm sure you understand that I very much enjoy it once I find a brand that I'm unfamiliar with. Mother of Pearl, designed by Amy Powney, is a London based brand that follow the words "feminine, sporty and modern". It's not new, it was founded in 2002, but it feels fresh and has been reinvented by Powney with the last couple of collections. Think interesting materials, comfortable silhouettes and statement pieces. I particularly like the soft blue denim ensemble - extra long sleeves are huge right now and a good cover up always comes in handy. This is contemporary fashion done right, with just a touch of 80s. 

And a shout out to the side parting blow dries, the model's hair in the top right picture is how I want mine all spring/summer long!

xx

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