Why this upcoming fashion month is so important
These moments are not reserved for history books, which is why, if I may be so bold, I predict this Spring Summer collection circuit will be -and also will in the future be- remembered as a particularly significant season to remember. Why? The whiplash inflicting turbulence within and outside the fashion industry.
The end of summer is something bittersweet. Even more so than 70% chocolate. You try to bottle that moment of sunbathing on the beach that one last time of the year. The waves crashing down, dance music thumping in the distance, the fragrance of Nivea sunscreen and salt water, hot sand between your toes… Pure relaxation and joy with friends and family are once again confronted with the looming reality – be it work, school, or other labours of the real world. While sad this may be, embarking on a new school year or heading back to work can be equally as exciting as planning your next summertime getaway. Hence September -the month of “Back to School” is a time of turning to a blank page, redefining ourselves and our goals, and embracing a fresh start. Of course this is why the most coveted September issue is so vital – to redefine our own aesthetic and wardrobe- and why we have so much anticipation for the Spring Summer collections to be unveiled starting in New York September 8. Out with the old, in with the new!
While this cycle of seasons is a tale as old as time (well RTW since the mid 20th century), each season reflects creative novelty and sartorial direction. Over time however, specific seasons melt into years and later into a “style” of a time period or a generation. Nonetheless, for interested fashion historians it is still worthy understanding specific seasons of a collection as it explains so much about what happened that single year and the common beliefs of its people. For example the Spring Summer 1947 Dior collection unveiling the New Look was a purposeful, political reaction to the painful austerity of WWII and de-feminizing uniforms.
These moments are not reserved for history books, which is why, if I may be so bold, I predict this Spring Summer 2017 collection will be -and also will in the future be -remembered as a particularly significant season to remember. Why? The whiplash inflicting turbulence within and outside the fashion industry.
Just taking the reference of the past 12 months, one could say that the industry has been shaken- definitely not stirred – and navigating a maison into the green figures is like navigating through the choppy waters of the Perfect Storm. One of the many symptoms of this unsteady, reactive management has been the music chairs-like shuffle of the world’s most celebrated creative directors. Raf to Calvin, Maria to Dior leaving Pietro single at Valentino, Peter exits Oscar, Bouchra Jarrar to Lanvin *EXHALE* The BREAKING NEWS emails from Business of Fashion just don’t stop. Of course, with this brings a jolt of excitement for the unveiling of a house’s new direction and also with the expectations of the capabilities of the creative director. But one has to wonder- if designers can be switched out and replaced in the blink of an eye, sometimes with whole design teams making up for them- are the days of the designer over? Is a prominent designer still relevant or is the brand and the aesthetic of a brand to remain singular?
Another factor bringing attention is the actual make up of this SS17 runway shows. We will witness an extension of mens and women’s collections presented together and a beta-run of see now- buy now pioneered by Burberry in AW16. Then there is the live streaming of shows and even more social media coverage. With the introduction of Instagram stories one can only imagine the chaos this will cause some at the shows – which platform to record the show on?! Or perhaps this is the tipping point and we will put the phone down revert to just watching the collection as too much sharing has become safely to say a faux pas. In effect, the fashion calendar as we know it today will have completely morphed into something more appropriate to our world in as soon as 10 years time, but at this moment the cogs in the wheel of change are turning.
Now of most importance and what presumes this season to be so extraordinary is the reflection of current events and atmosphere. Only this summer we witnessed Brexit, the American national elections with two very unpopular candidates, the destruction of war, global fear of terror, an influx of refugees without corresponding sustainable policies, a Turkish coup sparking protests around Europe, a deadly earthquake in Italy… PLUS the phenomena of nostalgic millennials catching Pokemons in the local park. Mentioned are but a handful of references sure to pop all across the runways from the big apple to Paris sparking debate but ultimately consumer desire. Many of these recent events will have a direct impact on millions of people’s futures and have single handedly changed the dynamics of our global society. We see people craving more say and more democracy. We see a backlash from global to local values. We are frustrated with current events and as much as we want to admit otherwise feel a sense of fear and unrest when we walk outside our doors.
2016 has marked a year of queasy unease and some even say the dawn of a new world order, paving our way into a turbulent future. While we see this on TV, read this in The Times, speak to our neighbours, it is fashion which is immortalising the root of communal thoughts of a society and interpreting political, environmental, and technological change through wearable art. And I am willing to bet good money someone will put an interpretation of a “burkini” down the catwalk.
Provocative, relevant, ironic. That’s fashion baby.