The Winds of Change

Colette Closes its doors after 20 years


Finding myself on the final leg of my MA, ploughing through my dissertation – one day thrilled for making a break through, the next day eyes are filled with tears as I reach a blockade with no answers for moving forward – my mind dares to ask what happens next after I hand in my dissertation at LCF?

The purpose of attending an arts school, the purpose for starting Modern Melange, the purpose for collecting international editions of Vogue since age 12, the purpose for creating trend-based scrapbooks, the purpose for dressing up my American girl dolls twice daily was because of my full hearted love for fashion.

The magic, the boundless and poetic creativity, the reflection of self and surroundings, the purity of sartorial expression is something which is human and provides an unexplainable ecstasy which triggered my chosen career path from a young age.

Only in the past few weeks though, certain events have exemplified the winds of change experienced in the industry. Firstly, Conde Nast is partnering with e-commerce retailer Farfetch bringing to the surface the direct link between editorial content and product. Haute Couture week is no longer reserved for couture – but a timeframe which makes good business sense for designers to show pre-collections and ready to wear. Lanvin, a maison built upon couture replaced its creative director Bouchra Jarrar after 16 months,  with Olivier Lapidus planning to make the brand the “french Micheal Kors”. This reminds me of a quote by Dana Thomas, author of Gods and Kings: Fashion is no longer about creativity.
Fashion is about consumption.

Then yesterday, news broke that the Parisian retail store Colette, arguably the most influential retail concept store in the world is closing after 20 years.

“As all good things must come to an end, after 20 wonderful years, Colette should be closing its doors on December 20 of this year… Colette Roussaux has reached the time when she would like to take her time; and Colette cannot exist without Colette,” the company explained.

Will this departure inspire the even bigger and better? Will this wave of see now buy now, “replaceable” creative talent, buy more! more! more! spark a counter culture of returning to slow fashion and giving more power again to creative autonomy? Doubtful, based on the recent “interview heard around the world” with fired British Vogue Fashion director Lucinda Chambers who stated that fashion today is “irrelevant” and where once hailed as “fashion bibles” are without the “the authority [they] once had.” The original article on Vestoj outlining how Chambers was fired, has since been amended by demand of Condé Nast lawyers.

To keep creatives and potential whistleblowers quite on the true state of things in the industry, “Non-disclosure agreements (“NDA”), non-disparagement provisions, and threats of defamation-centric lawsuits, in particular, are implemented by industry giants as reported by The Fashion Law. The article goes on to state:

“By working so vigilantly to scare and silence some of its own greatest assets – its oft-underappreciated creatives and the fashion press – and to shield itself from any form of criticism, constructive or otherwise, it is markedly difficult to see how fashion will ever grow or be relevant again.”

On that note, this fashion blogger is taking a week off to clear the brain from all things fashion and followers. In a digital world where everyone is connected 24/7 some distance from the iPhone and the Melange is just what the Dr. ordered!

Will be back First week of August!

You Stay Classy San Diego! 🙂