Every season, the same debate rolls around about the international Fashion Week circuit—New York, London, Milan and Paris. Why bother travelling around the globe to bloated, expensive fashion shows when we can watch them on livestreamed into our living room? Or via a film? Or even look book? For this fashion lover, there’s nothing like the real thing. Here are a few things I love and why I can’t imagine Fashion Week any other way:
The city: Whether you’re in London or Milan, the city itself offers so much creative energy. I get ideas from the local boutiques, new hotels, restaurants and general ambiance. Most of the fashion capitals also feature terrific fashion and art exhibits. I bumped into Karl Lagerfeld in the lobby of the Ritz Hotel in Paris and just last night, model Natasha Poly walked into my neighbourhood restaurant in Milan. That’s all part of being there.
The shopping: The top designers have flagship stores in the major capitals. Here, you’ll see their entire collection versus a few basics stocked in a department store. Milan’s Quadrilatero d’Oro, an area featuring via Monte Napoleone and Via Della Spiga is choked with some of the best designer stores in the world. There’s nothing like seeing the best pieces in amazing stores in the right city environment.
The people: I like to watch—people that is! The characters at fashion week are like stars from another planet. Milling about the entrance to the show, you’ll find those desperate for attention dressed like peacocks in OTT getups that start with a plumed hat and end in platform heel-less shoes. They preen and pose hoping to attract the crowd of photo-bloggers who can rhyme off the labels (and season the piece was made) displayed in their prey’s outfit. Inside, you’ll find those who could care less. I spotted one of my favourite journalists, Cathy Horyn of the New York Times, in Paris one season wearing an oversized black jacket with cut-off denim shorts and black boots. She looked like a plumber next to the birds of paradise but her opinion was worth gold next to their crumbs.
The experience: The lights, soundtrack, models, front row crowd, the photographers pit—how can you capture that frantic energy in video? Plus, there’s nothing like seeing the way the actual clothes move, and how they look from the back and sides. A few seasons all-black was a major trend (big surprise) and it looked like nothing on Style.com. A runway photo wipes away the texture, finish and shine.
Stay tuned. I’ll be reporting all week from Milan.