This past week brought two major fashion events, both of which came in the form of fashion shows. Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli, the creative directors of Valentino, descended upon New York, to show their Sala Bianca 945 Haute Couture collection, the first to be shown stateside. This was followed by Dior's Pre-Fall 2015 show, which hit the runway the following evening in Tokyo. You also may recall that a week prior, Chanel decamped to Salzburg, Austria to show its Pre-Fall collection.
This emphasis on the fashion show is obviously not new but it is interesting even the industry's taking with digital formats. As the Telegraph's Lisa Armstrong wrote recently: "Not so long ago, the smart money was on the imminent demise of the fashion show. Why fly from New York to Paris when you could watch the Viktor & Rolf show in bed?" And she has a point, especially given the increasingly packed show schedules, the inconvenience of many cities' various show locales, and the frequency with which there is a different fashion week or round of presentations (think: women's and mens Fall/Winter and Spring/Summer (in New York, London, Milan, Paris, etc.) Pre-Fall, Resort, couture, I'm sure I'm missing something).
Despite the obvious downsides to show-goers of flying all over the world and trudging all over town in a month (only to do it again the following), there are those for the design houses, as well. Such over the top events, often complete with dinners, big name models, guests flown in from all over, can cost the brands millions. And yet, the fashion show is far from dead,
Who better to shed light on the current state of such shows than Dior's masterful CEO, Sidney Toledano. He told the Telegraph: "People are honoured to be invited. Tonight they will tell their friends they were here. Tomorrow they will Instagram." Economically, the must make sense or else houses would simply stop showing. This is an nation that Toledano stands behind: "We're not philanthropists, Bernard Arnault (head of LVMH, which owns Dior) and I. We understand about the bottom line."
Raf Simons liked the idea of showing in Japan, saying: "Japanese were amazingly supportive of me 20 years ago when I started my own label." Of the collection, itself, he spoke to the point he has consistently made in connection with Dior, the one thing he seems most proud of, wearability: "I imagined real women with a real life, not red carpet existences, when I designed this," said Simons afterwards. "These are clothes for going out with the kids in the garden, with their dogs or jumping on the motor bike with their boyfriend." It is this spirit that has helped grow sales for the house's ready to wear collection under Simons, and maybe even more astoundingly, has helped it grow its couture business a staggering 30%.