Fashion week is a major industry event that highlights every fashion designer’s collection based on trend research for the upcoming seasons. Fashion week is held four times a year – January and June for men’s collections; and February and September for women’s collections – more prominently in the fashion capitals of the world namely New York, London, Milan and Paris. Recently, other cities like Shanghai, Vancouver, Copenhagen, Los Angeles, Tokyo and Berlin are also known to hold their respective fashion weeks. Fashion labels or “house/maison” have the option to show their collections via the traditional runway method which in line gave birth to supermodels (think Naomi Campbell and Cindy Crawford); and through presentations where clothes and accessories are worn by stationary models or props. Runway and presentation set-up continue to evolve over the years – the grander the venue like Palais Royale for Chanel or Eiffel Tower for Saint Laurent, the more the collections get press exposure and attention in return. A fashion week can consist of as much as 100 shows and presentations happening simultaneously in different parts of a fashion capital. With the outburst of the pandemic, a third option of presentation is done through digital means where filmography and visual effects are applied.
Fashion Week in Pop Culture
Fashion week has a social notion of being an exclusive event, being accessible only to noteworthy magazine editors, prominent buyers and famous celebrities. However, because of a new breed of spectators in the form of bloggers, vloggers, and ultimately of social media influencers, fashion week is now being bridged real time to fashion enthusiasts and aspiring designers. Gone are the days that front row seats are exclusive only to the gods of influential magazine publishing companies. Nowadays, expect a full block of seat segments to the Chiara Ferragni’s and our very own, Bryan Boy. These new wave of fashion front-rowers are known to popularize the term “fashion month” instead of fashion week due to the fact that they attend shows and presentations from all four fashion capitals continuously.
Born in France, Haute Couture or “high-end dressmaking” is the art of creating exclusive custom-made clothing from expensive luxurious fabrication with the utmost attention to detailing which can painstakingly require long number of hours. This involves sewing from the most capable dressmakers and extreme artisinal skills. This translates to an excessive price tag hence the association of Haute Couture to the creme de la creme of a fashion house’s clientele. As trivial as it can get, Haute Couture is a term protected by law in France and is defined by the Chambre de commerce et d’industrie de Paris. And as per this chamber, a fashion brand can only be considered a “coutierier” if it meets high standards such as: designing made-to-order pieces for private clients, with one or more fittings; having a workshop (atelier) in Paris that employs at least fifteen staff members full-time; and presenting a collection of at least fifty original designs to the public every fashion season of both day and evening garments. Brands like Chanel, Dior, Giambattista Valli, Versace, Emporio Armani and Jean-Paul Gaultier to name a few are highly regarded for their extensive Haute Couture reputation. Haute Couture presentations take place only in Paris every January and July.
Sometimes being mistaken for the Italian Men’s fashion week, Pitti Uomo is a trade show which takes place in Florence, Italy every January and June in between London and Milan Fashion Weeks. It is a four-day event where emerging and even well established brands present their male-focused collections to retailers and editors. Pitti Uomo recently has been more known for the stylish gentlemen attendees and participants in sartorial and street-style garments.
Cover Photo from Dolce Gabbana*