Fashion week is gracing our timelines and newsfeeds once again as we jump right into the Autumn/Winter schedules for 2016. AW is my favourite season to admire and indulge on as it is shown in February as we drag ourselves out of the cold into the early, bright mornings of spring, it promises what collaborations we will be wearing in 6 months’ time. After Vetements and Tom Ford voiced their rather non traditional views on the scheduling and timings of collections, will this be the last year that fashion weeks show their collections 6 months prior to their debut in store? Fast fashion is becoming more and more common, with high-street giants feasting on the labour of eastern European and Asian workers to meet our western demands, however I never thought this manufactured aura would find its way into the roots of ready to wear. Vetements, the young Parisian brand has shunned the schedule completely, and instead of showing the AW/16 collections in February, will show in January 2017, making the collection purchasable the second the last model steps off the runway, pushing fast fashion to its limits. With Burberry and Tom Ford also releasing their collections as soon as the last model steps off the catwalk, will this increase the amount of stress and pressure for creative directors to rush collections and create sloppy work, or will it just be another fad that brands are introducing to spice up their schedule, acting as a PR stunt to increase brand awareness?
Either way, there is no denying that this years AW collections in London reflected not just the location it was held in – sexually succulent Soho – but through the collections that were shown. Smartwear and formal wear was shown frequently throughout, with designers such as Zoë Jordan, Osman, Mulberry and Paul Smith all creating semi tailored looks, adding sophistication and an aura of “don’t fucking talk to me Sandra go and file this finance report and no you CAN’T have an extra ten minutes to ring your boyfriend” boss vibes.
Now we all love a sequin or two and you know me, a look isn’t complete unless I have at least 24 sequins on my eyelashes, however we NEED to discuss the gorgeous embellishing that has risen from the hand crafted and most likely hand sewn gods. Ashish took embellishing to the extreme and essentially sent their catwalk attendees on a multi-sensory, ‘Mario Kart Rainbow Road’ style journey. Models adorned with ostentatiously matching afros, co-ordinating with their garments, showcasing embellished fur, denim and sequin cladded shawls. Burberry also tried their hand at embellishing, with almost an homage to the stained glass window in an intricately sequined floral piece. What’s not to love about Burberry. They’re from the UK, they always put on an experiential show with Christopher Baileys penchant for live music, and this new revelation that his collections will not only be available to buy straight away, but will no longer be split into mens and womens, Bailey is extending his arm to the people (I know how kind of him) and modernising the brand even further. Honestly I feel this collection however is weak. I wasn’t amazed by the menswear pieces, plain suits, knitted ties, where did you see that idea on pinterest at 2am? Good one Chris.
If I were to choose a favourite from London I’m going to have to give this metaphorical fashion crown to Gareth Pugh. I am a fan of experiential fashion and fashion that you can see has a story behind it or has a hidden meaning that is clearly only visible to the designer and creative director. It alludes to the mind of the designers and really brings the idea of fashion being an art form to life. Their struggles, their lives, their thoughts and feelings have spilled out into fashion and when it becomes confusing and over indulgent to us uneducated and measly lot, it really shows how complex a job they actually do and how personal garments can become. Pugh pushes the feminist agenda, with striking women in power dresses perpetrating sharp silhouettes, perfectly bold colours and devilishly stark grills, I’m surprised each guest wasn’t given an inhaler in their overly anticipated yet most likely disappointing goodie bags (body shop??) . It’s almost ridiculously simplistic, earth tones clashing against punchy blues, mixed with the “I’m going to marry you and then create a mood board for your funeral looks on my honeymoon” black. There’s something about a hat as well come on like YES.
Fashion is changing every season, whether it be social issues concerning model size and restrictions on models actually being given work dependent on their size, sustainable sourcing of garments, or the scheduling and commercial/marketing side of Fashion, there’s always something that’s about to shift and change. With three major names already conforming to the fast fashion aesthetic, making their collections available straight away after show, it creates a more immediate response from consumers for their items. The idea of seeing something on the runway and being able to literally go and buy that piece the next day and then go and get some soya milk and avocado’s in Burberry AW16 is somewhat liberating. Christopher Bailey explains: “We are opening it up to an audience who just do not, and should not, have to think about our industry’s ways and approaches and timings. You can’t force a different audience to understand something that is designed as an industry event,” (i-D magazine)
Fifteen, even ten years ago, fashion shows were full of buyers and merchandisers looking what to buy for next collection. The rise of celebrity and blogger is very much a millennial phenomenon, with Anna Wintour in the early 2000s premiering the first celebrities on the covers of vogue, the life of the celebrity began, and now it swamps the catwalk frows (front rows for you uneducated fuckers). I have grown up with this arena of Instagram and Snapchat and “oh my god is that thingy from thingy who’s going out with thingy on the front cover of last weeks TV magazine?” so it isn’t something that affects me, however I feel like so many brands are becoming so invested in their omni-channel marketing, are they not bypassing the real reason they’re involved in the fashion industry?