Sorry My Blog Has Been Like This Empty Room Waiting To Be Filled
So I know it’s been awhile since I posted, but this was women’s (category) buying season and I was traveling non-stop for eight weeks. It was such an interesting season … the clothes were varied at best but the mood and the turmoil in the industry were evident in every city.
Usually the fashion industry is one of the first industries to embrace change, but in this economic downturn it seems like the whole fashion food chain has been stuck in the mud and spinning its wheels. The mantra was more extreme fashion, more seasons, more discounts, and more big fashion shows to get the penny pinching consumer to spend money. And everyone claimed that these tools were working….but it seems that they (these tools) only stressed these luxury brands to a point where their seams started to split.
Let’s start with New York. We had several designers with similar, “commercial” shows that made us think all we had to do next season was to buy a flowy printed silk chiffon dress and add a hooded fur trimmed anorak on top and you’ll be set for Autumn/Winter 2011. How is that possible that this looked appeared three or four times in different shows? Thank God for Proenza Schouler and Jason Wu or New York would have been a complete miss. I’m not saying that other designers didn’t show innovative stuff (sometimes it was OK) but most of it was “innovative for the sake of being innovative”. Did they really think women were going to wear it?
I love when WWD at the end of each city fashion week has a feature story of what the store buyers think are the strongest looks of the season. They usually rave about the designers in their roster and never talk about designers that they don’t carry (hence Proenza and Jason). Hey, some designers have good seasons and some have bad ones. My rule of thumb usually is that if the pre-collection is good then the collection will be weak and visa versa. Which gets to my point, I believe a designer can have only one vision per season and pushing them to make two collections for one season is like saying “more is more”. Usually the only reason to have two collections in a season is so that department stores can put one on sale when the other one comes in….and what is the point of that? So that the merchandise is depreciating by the minute? Why not just price it lower to begin with….Hence you have stressed out designers, wholesale sellers, factories, and buyers!…..the customer will probably spend the same amount no matter what. For me, traveling to a showroom once per season is enough thank you, just spread out the deliveries.
OK point two…then comes Italy. Over the last several years Italy had been scrambling to design women’s clothing that will stand out. And they have succeeded. These shows are sooooo outrageous that I am in awe of how much time and money is spent to exaggerate every detail….why don’t they just bonk us on the head and scream “COLOR” is the point of the season like the Gucci show. We get it! and there is no subtlety in any of it. Do women want to walk around looking like advertisements for the latest trends….I don’t think so or maybe that is not my experience. Wake up.
And then there was Paris……. Galiano’s “unfortunate accident” ? Someone used that same term when describing what the minister called the death of a 20 year old at a funeral last month. Really? Alcohol and prescription drugs causing bad behavior and suicide is not new news…..and not an excuse !!!! but a cry for help to treat people who are burdened with life’s’ problems. Paris shows were a push towards…..I don’t know…. but I felt that the designers were pushing all over the place and the results were unwearable. It was like you could see the stress all over the clothes.
So where does that leave the buyer (and the consumer)….well for me, I found great work in smaller more personal lines that had designers plugging along like the rest of us, pushing ourselves to be the best we can be, but realistically beautiful at the same time. I was really tired at the end of this trip, but I was really satisfied with my buy. I will get into that in future blogs but I felt it was important to talk about the obvious, since no one else will.