Seated in the gardens of Versailles, designers, celebrities and fashionistas gathered for the Chanel Cruise ‘12/’13 show. The fashion show has evolved into a full experience, rather than just a walking wardrobe.
The music, lights and electric audience create an atmosphere unable to be replicated in any other setting. The creativity and planning that goes into preparing a fashion show is unfathomable to the unsuspecting viewer. But in the industry of 16-inch stilettos, nothing is impossible. Catwalk shows demonstrate the extreme lengths a designer will go to have their designs presented in the most memorable setting possible.
Chanel, one of my favorite brands, never fails to disappoint in the WOW factor of their catwalk shows. Earlier this year the Spring/Summer 2012 Ready-to-Wear collection was held in the Grand Palais in Paris. This enchanted setting transported guests into an undersea fantasy full of pearls, sea creatures and underwater foliage. Emulating the image of a bustling street, models entered the runway from all directions as the audience looked on towards the predominately white styled designs. The clothing itself presented a new take on the modern classics such as the tweed jacket and little white dress as opposed to the iconic little black dress usually found on the runway. As detail was key, the string of pearls located down the spine of each model had been individually placed to replicate the appearance of an exoskeleton similar to that of a sea creature. The whimsical voice of Florence Welsh who performed in an oyster, added to the water themed atmosphere being created. This show clearly demonstrates the intricate thought process behind every aspect of a fashion show.
Contemporary culture and technology has transformed the fashion industry, not only in terms of the clothing design but in the way we are able to interact and receive fashion. The traditional ‘catwalk show’ has evolved from a casual gathering of people as in 1903, to an event not to be missed by anyone with fashion on their brain.
After attending three fashion shows in the past weeks, I realised that it was not necessarily the clothing that I remember (although it did encourage me to waste a lot of time online shopping), but rather the overall experience of dressing up and going out to see and hear the fashion crazed that makes it such an enjoyable time. Like going to the theatre, catwalk shows have become an event that incorporates all characteristics of a good performance.
As French actress and fashion model Clémence Poséy explains “[Fashion shows create] a dramatic tension. It’s like watching a play. The music rises, the pieces get more and more intense.”
With the ability to stream fashion shows and review collections over the internet the hype around fashion shows has somewhat lessened. However, as designers continue to raise the bar in terms of what to expect at a fashion show, nothing can beat the physical experience of being there.
Fashion shows are more than just a group of models strutting down the catwalk in pretty designs; they create fashion cultures, start trends, build excitement and provide every audience member with a unique and memorable experience.