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To show, or not?

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Kirsten Dunst, Kim Gordon - names which live outside the regular pool of hired models by a major brand. However, their inclusion in an increasing number of brand presentations signifies a shift of the orthodoxy of fashion presentation of late... In January, the "show" of Rodarte was replaced by a series of portraits posted on Instagram, shot by Autumn de Wilde, starring artists close to the creators of the brand. After a grandiose and flowery show in an old Parisian cloister during fashion week in Paris, in July 2017, there was nothing to foretell this detour off the podium. But the realization of a feature film, Woodshock (2017), gave other desires to Kate and Laura Mulleavy, the creators of Rodarte."Making this film has changed our perspective, our understanding of the creative landscape, it has shown us new ways to interact with people," they confess. Following their instinct, the American sisters known for their iconoclastic style join the supporters of an alternative to the classic fashion show. In September 2017, Gareth Pugh, a renowned futuristic-goth English designer, swapped the podiums for a spectacular film co-authored by photographer Nick Knight. The same season (spring-summer 2018), the brand Vetements opted for a presentation of large photo prints in a shed.

Woodshocks (2017), from the sisters behind Rodarte

Yet, is this revolutionary movement carried by avant-garde labels? Perhaps not. This year, these two questions are back in the spotlight. Would the show remain unavoidable? "There are so many players and new products on the market, we see a lot," says Alix Morabito, fashion director at Galeries Lafayette. "When a brand begins to show, we enter the story it wants to tell, we see the products in motion, it is more serious in the mind. I also find that it forces the designer to assert his message, to publish his words, it is a form of interesting discipline." The show also remains a formidable communication tool. "During a fashion week, the impact in terms of communication for a brand is eight times higher than average, it's huge! This makes parade a must-have item," says Michael Jaïs, CEO of Launchmetrics, a platform that analyzes the data of fashion (but also luxury in general and beauty for many customers in the industry).

However, in 2018, the show has been altered, thanks to social networks that have led to irreversible changes. It is far from the time when, in the middle of last century, the shows were closed to professional closed of which the photographers were excluded for fear of stealing designs. Today, with Instagram and Facebook, everyone can watch live shows, thanks to brands' accounts or guests glued to their smartphone. On May 3, the last Chanel cruise show was attended by about 1,000 people, was followed on Facebook by over half a million people. "The show is no longer an industry event, it is a global event that the consumer is closely associated with," says Michael Jaïs. "That's why brands come back. In a way, social networks saved the show, bringing the sound box of consumers. Today, many voices count: the media, the influencers, the partners, the brand's own voice that wants to impose its values ​​... "

Chanel Cruise 2018, one of the most viewed fashion events ever

Fashion shows have thus turned into fully adjustable 360 ° events. The venue, the budget, the various to-side (musical performance, perfume launch cocktail ...), the guests, the decor change a great deal, from Tommy Hilfiger staging his collaboration with Gigi Hadid, to a show in very small committee where the models pass close enough of the guests so that they can admire the arrangement of the petals on the dress. In this context, what happens on the runway itself counts less than its "packaging". "What creates desirability for a brand is not so much the show as how it manages to create a slightly larger, more emotional momentum, a differentiating and meaningful experience to reinforce its message. Added to this is the consistency of the brand, its proposal at a time T that corresponds to what customers expect, storytelling, how it will be taken up by the influencers," adds Alix Morabito . "There is a huge amount of communication and social networking work. "

This "democratic" evolution finally puts the accent on the uniqueness of brands, their ability to address an audience that goes beyond the professionals. This is also how Rodarte sees the future. "For each collection, we chose to be guided by our ideas to decide how to present them . It is important to create unique experiences, and to try new ways to communicate our vision. That said, there is something incredibly magical in a parade and we look forward to future creative moments to share with Alexandre de Betak [a French man who is one of the leading figures in the production of fashion events], the visionary with whom we work." It is not forbidden to superimpose different forms of presentation (film, images, shows, etc.) provided they have something to say, which could eliminate from the race the brands that only parade to afford a dummy status, and artificially enter the club of those who have their name in the credits of the fashion week.

Betak (Right) behind the scenes of a show

Still, the pace of fashion weeks, about fifteen shows per day, often are relegated to the background the creative dimensions of the show; Perhaps is it the division into seasons and the accumulation of appointments which follow (or overlap) in the major fashion capitals such as New York, London, Milan and Paris must be put into question. "I think we can find creativity by changing the structure and content without changing the parade principle ," says Michael Jaïs. "There is a real question of relevance of the products presented and links with the audience [who does a winter show serve when the majority of a brand's customers are in a country without winter?] but the show remains a unique opportunity." The (fashion) show must go on, especially with the arrival of high-tech tools like virtual reality, which can bring it into another dimension. Thanks to this technology, in 2017 Givenchy made it possible for customers at Isetan Shinjuku store in Tokyo to visit the couture workshops of the house working in Paris. A new revolution to anticipate .

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