During Fashion Week I posted on my social media some images and videos of some bizarre shows I attended. And I admit they were right out there…

I totally get the remarks that it is hideous, unwearable and the questions who are these garments marketed for? and why are the shows so strange?

Lets start with this

Fashion is art.

It is after all called a fashion SHOW! Some of these shows cost over a million euros to stage. The designers that can afford to put on these elaborate shows don’t intend for consumers to actually go and buy these, so to speak, costumes or work of expressions right off the runway. They have more modest items that will be available and appreciated in their boutiques and stores.

For shows like, for example Vivienne Westwood, Andreas Kronthaler for Vivienne Westwood, Rick Owens, Jeremy Scott for Moschino and Alessandro Michele for Gucci, the designer has a certain artistic story he/ she wants to showcase, and make themselves understood. They may not be painters or singers, but they see their work as art.

On the left ,Andreas Kronthaler’s for Vivienne Spring Summer 2020. On the right, Bella Hahid wears an outfit from the Vivienne Westwood Spring Summer 2020 collection to an event in Paris.

The designer wants to say something with his / her collection

All designers, even the ones that only have presentations of their garments in showrooms, have an idea, inspiration from something that he /she wants to relate in the collection. But for some, just having the normal wearable items at the Fashion Show is a bit boring, and the artistic story that is behind the collection wearable would get lost. So they put up a show with the faith that the journalists and fans will get the bigger picture, so to speak, of their vision. It can be related to modern art, and should be seen as an art exhibition. The buyers and journalists that attend have trained eyes, and hopefully creative minds, to understand the collection and take from what the designer was wanting to say.

Many of the times the headpieces and make- up can look scary or crazy, but they are often just props. It is just to give the collection pieces that finishing touch, to tell the story.

Rick Owens S/S 2020. Photography: Jason Lloyd-Evans.
Bold caps and Crazy head gear finishes off the futuristic outfits he envisioned.

The need to create a hype

The designers also want the press to write about the show and the collection, because this is their way of advertising and creating hype. That is another reason why the shows are so crazy. The crazier the collection and the show, the more the show will be talked about and analysed.

And with a show filled with influencers and die- hard fans who also dress the part, the show cannot disappoint in a world where it will be on social media in real time.

The collection then can be analysed by buyers and press, and stylists can style it, so the consumer will wear the final product.

Remember my last fashion week season at the FENDI showroom

After the show, and sometimes on your designated seat attendees get press releases explaining the thoughts and feelings behind the collection. And then there are press days in which press and buyers can go to the show room and see the pieces individually, and take the critiquing and buying process from there.

Very few, if any, consumers will wear an all Vivienne Westwood outfit. We mix those crazy tartan pants with a silk blouse from Jill Sander for example. So those crazy pants you saw on the runway will after all not look that crazy when you wear them.

This is for the buyers and stylists for editorials to figure out. I have said this before… we often end up seeing similar designs in H&M and ZARA, and we don’t even realise where this creative process started. It was more than the colour green that would be in fashion this season, or tartan or sheer. This did not come from the creative geniuses of ZARA. It came first from a designer’s imagination and creativity and courage. Then ZARA’s designers made it more wearable with less imagination, with only mega sales in mind.

Anna Wintour editor in chief of Vogue Magazine said it best :

“You either know fashion or you don’t”

So if you find these collections ugly, and you don’t see the art in it, just be pleased with your area of expertise, and leave the fashion critique to those in the fashion industry who will determine what you will buy at ZARA next season.