Yesterday, a few details emerged from the CFDA's town-hall meeting. Today, the New York Observer has a thorough report, in which we learn that André Leon Talley was there with a Louis Vuitton man purse, wearing a gray suit instead of his signature croc cape. But more important, the Observer reports that Diane Von Furstenberg essentially acknowledged that fashion shows are irrelevant. Because now that we have the magical Internet, customers can look at clothes immediately after they hit the runway. They want them but can't have them. Then they arrive in stores before they're in season, and when shoppers are ready to purchase them, they're already on sale. So shoppers are confused, the industry loses money, and nobody's happy.
Proenza Schouler designer Jack McCollough acknowledged that fashion shows are simply a "press thing," adding that the collections feel "sort of old" by the time they hit stores, and have already appeared in dozens of magazines. Donna Karan added, "We’re spending all this money on shows and by the time the consumer gets to it, it’s on sale!“ Fashion director of Bergdorf Goodman Roopal Patel noted they want to support designers, but also that the shows are key for marketing and help sell the clothes. Indeed, we must have shows. Fashion Week is the foundation of the industry. Would we want construction workers to build brick houses without cement? Dogs to meow instead of bark? Beyoncé to wear matte clothes? Heavens, no.
Anna Wintour offered a solution to the problem, noting, “There’s a deep psychological block with the American consumer of just not wanting to shop, and we want them to shop again.” Sure, if by deep psychological block she means being painfully broke at all times. There's more:
“Could someone lead a committee that would make ground rules for retailers of when the discounting starts, and then all the retailers can agree to it?” Ms. Wintour suggested.
“That’s illegal!” Ms. Von Furstenberg said with some horror.
“Is that something we can change?” Ms. Wintour said. “We have friends in the White House now!”
Ms. Von Furstenberg: “Anything is possible.”
We love the way they think. Fashion emergency? Call Michelle! We also love the way Betsey Johnson thinks:
“I would love to show at Madison Square Garden!” she said. “I wish Fashion Week for the public can be like Christmas, and maybe we’ll put up green and pink lights everywhere.”
And maybe a Fashion Tree with designer shoes dangling off it and a MObama doll at the top. They could couple the decorations with a campaign to spread holiday cheer and slowly rid the world of snow-scene sweaters. Think of all the pretty-sweater parties they could have!
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