Fashion Week is on its way! Time to practise sipping champers, air-kissing A-listers and perfecting that fashionably bored front-row face. OK, we may not physically be in NYC, but we’ll certainly be there in spirit. And in preparation we’ve a few Fashion Week facts to get you in the mood.
New York, New York…
Of course, New York is the first of the Big 4 Fashion Weeks. But it hasn’t always been that way. Paris was the home of fashion shows until 1943, when The Second World War and the Nazi occupation of France meant the shows were cancelled.
During fashion’s time of need, an intuitive US fashion publicist called Eleanor Lambert stepped in. She invited the media to ‘Press Week’ in New York City, effectively founding Fashion Week. The indomitable force that was Eleanor passed away in 2003 at 100 years old.
Eleanor Lambert, 1963. Source: CFDA
The woman in charge
Eleanor Lambert may have got things started, but it was another impeccably stylish lady who ran the show. Ruth Finley organised the 1944 calendar – and did so for the next 69 years! Her pink-paged guide is the NYFW bible for everyone in the know.
Although the Calendar was bought by the CFDA (Council of Fashion Designers of America), Ruth remains a consultant in co-ordinating the 300 or so shows that are held over just 8 days. So if you want a show, you’d better be in Ruth’s good books in more ways than one!
Photography by Jason Frank Rothenberg / Source: Soma Magazine
Each of the Big 4 shows promotes a particular style.
At New York you’ll find a sporty edge. (Which is why you may remember seeing Rihanna’s Puma collection there back in Feb.)
London goes for a more experimental, avant-garde look while Milan is known for its OTT creations. Paris, the final of the Big 4, keeps it as classy as you’d expect with haute couture. The rules are that haute couture can ONLY be shown in Paris.
With this in mind, keep an eye out through your over-sized sunglasses for the sportswear twist at NYFW. (However, there is still no excuse for watching it in your tracksuit, unless it’s by Vetements, of course.)
So not for sale
It’s not just the clothes on the runway that are as rare as Giselle’s bad hair days. You can’t actually buy tickets for Fashion Week – the invitation-only policy makes it one of the most exclusive events in the fashion calendar. That’s why the shows are only watched live by fashion editors, bloggers, stylists and, of course, celebs. FROW (front row) is unsurprisingly the hottest ticket in town. And some sneaky designers have extended their FROWs by creating an irregular shaped catwalk to allow more VIPs!
Now there is one other way to get invited – you could be asked to model! But it’s not as lucrative as it sounds. Many models work for free – or work in return for designer clothes and accessories, as well as the exposure. And although we quite like the sound of being paid in designer shoes, when you have bills to pay, it may not be such a great deal. However, if you are an A-list supermodel, then you can command a super fee.
Model walk not needed
In the privacy of our bedrooms, we may all secretly practise our catwalk strut, sashay and head-flick turn. However, it’s not actually all about the catwalk. Many of the events at Fashion Week are actually ‘presentations’. For this there is no runway, just models stood on pedestals or in a set. It means that the invited attendees can get up close and personal to see the clothes whilst snapping some fabulous photos to share with us.
The money-conscious among us might balk at the cost of a designer handbag. But that’s nothing compared to what a celeb on the front row costs. A designer spends anything from £140,000 – £685,000 on a show. Much of it on A-list celebs to be spotted on their front row – up to £70,000 is reported to go on securing their attendance!
Never mind the talented young designers, it’s the young ‘uns on the front row who are making an impact. Harper Beckham was said to steal the show at Burberry – by being on the front row at 4 years old. J-Lo’s appropriately named daughter Chanel also took a front row seat aged 4. However, they’ve been surpassed by 2-year-old North West, who threw tantrums at both Alexander Wang and Adidas shows (we weren’t feeling those shirts either, North!) Though Sophia Eccleston (daughter of Tamara) perhaps takes the title of youngest front row star – attending Julien MacDonald’s show at just 11 months old. (Seeing her taking a few tottering steps was reminiscent of us in skyscraper heels!)
Show us the pics!
In 2015 the hashtag #NYFW was used an amazing 31.6 million times. (And only half of those were from us saying “Want that!”)
In 2010, London became the first Fashion Week to Live Stream the shows. And now around 2 million fashion fans watch them this way. We’d recommend it when you can’t be there IRL. (That stands for In Real Life BTW – and that stands for By The Way!)
We’ll certainly be taking our front row seat (in the living room) in September. We can’t wait to see what’s coming up!