So, it’s Thursday, 16 June 2011 and besides it being Youth Day in South Africa, we at The Luxury Lifestyle Guide cannot overlook the unavoidable fact that we are at the cusp of the eve of Milan Menswear Spring/Summer 2012 Fashion Week.
We’ve been keeping a very vigilant eye on the developments leading up to this event and, recent Facebook addict that I’ve become, I’m browsing the social network and the first thing I notice is an announcement by Versace:
“Our live-stream tab is now available in our Facebook page to watch Versace Men SS12 on Monday, June 20th at 2pm EST / 8pm CEST! Control the time left till the show in our countdown! We have lots of surprises… This will be a top fashion moment! You cannot miss it!”
While this is a great opportunity for fashion enthusiasts to engage more intimately with their preferred brands and instantly satisfy their fashion appetite, this kind of convergence of fashion brands communication efforts and technological developments has fueled an interesting debate surrounding it.
With the advent of the convergence of communication channels – the Internet, telephony, TV, publications etc – many high-end fashion brands have decided to minimize the time between showcasing on the catwalk and goods being available to the luxury consumer in an effort to lessen the likelihood of falling victim to copy-cat fast-fashion retailers. Burberry is an excellent example of how they executed this strategy. Its Spring/Summer 2011 Collection was streamed live to all its international boutiques and made iPads available for (prequalified) invited customers to order right there and then for delivery with seven short weeks.
However, the question raised by some is “What price must fashion houses pay to keep instep with technological advancements and exponentially increasing consumer demand for microwave-speed results?”
Fashion industry badboy Tom Ford took an unexpected step last year when he withheld photography of his Womenswear Spring/Summer 2011 show. This translated into buyers and luxury consumers seeing only glimpses of the odd sketch in the collection or reading about it in the Twitter community. And in as much as Tom Ford’s approach appealed to his views on the issue, the move turned out to work in his favor. It generated unprecedented publicity and very possibly shielded his label from copy-cat high street retailers.
Mr. Ford is reported to have remarked: “All of the fast-fashion companies that do a great job, by the way, knock everything off. So it’s everywhere all over the streets in three months and by the time you get it to the store, what’s the point?”
It was not until December that Mr. Ford was willing to lend garments to celebrities and only released the official, controlled photography of the collection in January of this year. This has been in stark contrast to the deluge of publicity that international fashion weeks confer on such designer labels. The collection was released for limited wholesale distribution in (Northern Hemisphere) Autumn of 2011.
Still expressing his thoughts on the matter, Tom Ford said: “This fashion immediacy thing – yes, if you can order the clothes immediately, if you can see them and press a button and they can be shipped to your house, I get fashion immediacy…I don’t get the need for this immediacy. In fact, I think it’s bad.”
Adding: “The way the system works now, you see the clothes, within an hour they’re online, the world sees them. they don’t get to a store for six months. The next week, young celebrity girls are wearing them on red carpets. They’re in every magazine. The customer is bored with those clothes by the time they get to the store. They’re overexposed, you’re tired of them, they’ve lost their freshness, you see somebody wearing it and you say, ‘Oh, that’s the jacket that was in blah, blah, blah, blah, blah’. Or a customer doesn’t want to wear that jacket that was in blah, blah, blah, blah, blah…”
How this matter will develop in the near future is yet to be seen, but one thing that is clear is that fashion enthusiasts are demanding their fashion news and garments with increasing urgency.
For further details on the Versace Menswear Spring/Summer Collection 2012, visit Official Versace on Facebook.
Live the life!
Le Marquis des Excellences