Fashion for fifteen seconds

Posted by Jenna Gallagher on February 16, 2012 |

Fashion week is not for the faint of heart.

In fact, it can be so grueling that Carmel Snow, the revered editor of Harper’s Bazaar who presided over the magazine in the 1930s-‘50s, was said to subsist on a seasonal diet of martinis, French pastries, and
vitamin B injections.

That was back before New York even had a fashion week. In Mrs. Snow’s day, fashion editors and photographers trekked to Paris twice yearly to the see the collections, then sent their photographs (with editorial notes scrawled on them in grease pencil) back after each show. From the darkroom, the pics were carried by hand directly to the planes on the runway then picked up by a New York staffer when the flight arrived stateside.

Now, of course, they just tweet it all.

The sweeping influence that social media has had on fashion and the way it is presented cannot be overstated. Just as the glamour of editor and photographer pilgrimaging to Paris and breathlessly sending their reports home like state secrets infused the fashion of its day (think Funny Face), the rapid-fire accessibility of absolutely everything has changed what we want to wear and when we want to wear it.

Economic consequences aside (all too often, Made in Paris has become Made in China), this has good and bad points. On the one hand, designers and fashion houses are reaching a much wider audience. On the other, that audience is getting so much information that they are onto the next in the blink of an eye. Imagine spending $1 million to produce a fashion show (which, as the New York Times put it, is shorter than an average cab ride), and within the hour it is yesterday’s news.

With the ante being constantly upped, designers and fashion houses are always seeking new ways to extend their online presence. Yesterday (February 15), Prabal Gurung and Japanese retailer ICB premiered an invitation only, web-exclusive fashion show of their collaboration. Fashion editors around the world were able to view the pre-taped show in their own language, complete with embedding capabilities, high-res photos, interviews, and backstage footage of hair and makeup. It not only gave frock-fatigued editors a chance to view the collection without distraction, but it allowed Prabal and ICB the ability to control exactly what was posted
and when.

As media and exposure opportunities continue to evolve, it is nice to know that fashion still holds true to the diktat pronounced by famed creative director (and Carmel Snow contemporary), Alexey Brodovitch:
“Astonish me!”




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