As fashion weeks become increasingly public, designers are seeking ever-elaborate ways to elevate the traditional runway show to appeal to the social-media savvy. With New York Fashion Week now underway, we look at several designers who are embracing this new era by offering brand loyalists access to their collections, in-season, straight from the runway.
Last season, Tom Ford eschewed fashion’s traditional physical presentation in favor of a Nick Knight-directed film featuring Lady Gaga. But last night, the Texan designer kicked off New York Fashion Week by returning to the former tried and tested format, with a twist. Items from both his women’s and men’s Autumn/Winter 2016 collection were shown together at an intimate presentation at New York’s recently closed Four Season’s restaurant, which was simultaneously streamed live on the brand’s website. Being his debut ‘See Now, Buy Now’ presentation, both lines were presented for sale immediately after the show, accompanied by the launch of select cosmetics, a new fragrance and eyewear.
No stranger to the elaborate show set, Tommy Hilfiger is poised to launch a two-day consumer-facing fashion extravaganza this Fashion Week season. Branded #TommyNow, the event, which starts on Friday, will see New York’s South Street Pier 16, temporarily renamed Tommy Pier, playing host not only to a traditional runway show, but fairground rides, including a 40-foot Ferris wheel, hot dog stands and pop-up shops. The ticketed show, which will be attended by fans of the brand as well as the usual fashion folk, will introduce Tommy Hilfiger’s capsule collaboration with model Gigi Hadid, and feature select ready-to-wear pieces from the designer’s Autumn/Winter 2016 collection, originally unveiled in February. And like his contemporary Tom Ford, every item will be available to purchase immediately, both online and from Tommy Hilfiger stores worldwide.
An early adopter of the ‘See Now, Buy Now’ model, Californian-born New York-based designer Rebecca Minkoff, who introduced a shoppable show #seebuywear back in February, is continuing her role as industry disruptor this season. On Saturday, her #runwaytoretail event, which will see the vast majority of pieces shown available to buy instantly, will take place outdoors, in front of her flagship store on Soho’s Greene Street, and for an audience of both trade and consumers.
Scheduled for Sunday, 11th September, Opening Ceremony’s ‘Pageant of the People’ will see designers Carol Lim and Humberto Leon take their unique interpretation of fashion week presentations to yet another level. Perhaps most famous for their 2014 Spike Jonze play, this season it’s comedy that has been mooted as the duo’s medium of choice. Showcasing another in-season collection, details surrounding the event are currently scant, but Portlandia’s Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein are thought to be hosting the show, to be joined by an array of special guests including Whoopi Goldberg, so needless to say expectations are high.
The traditional runway show continues to evolve, reflecting our increasingly digital age and the demands of today’s fashion consumers. But while this may be seen as inevitable, accepted and indeed embraced by designers, the decision to show in-season has divided opinion. The designers we have featured here are among a handful on the New York Fashion Week schedule who have opted to present their Autumn/Winter 2016 collections to the press and public over the next nine days, rather than unveiling next season’s spring offering as would be expected. Others, including Diane von Furstenberg and Kate Spade, have taken a different approach to the change, opting for more intimate, industry-focused presentations to present next season’s collections, while each planning consumer-led in season launch events next year. It remains to be seen whether New York is leading the charge for a change in the schedule, or whether tradition will win out.