In Carine Roitfeld's new book, Irreverent, she declares that "fashion isn't as much fun as it once was," blaming corporatization and industrialization for making things dull. "There's no excitement anymore, no amazement, none of the madness you could experience even a few years back," she laments, adding, "fashion is nothing without its carefree side." We polled fashion insiders to get their thoughts on the topic.
"There’s no denying that, in the last couple years, everything has become more big business and more corporate. I think we see that across the board, but people need all the help they can get to make shows happen. There’s also no denying there’s such huge interest in fashion, so corporations want a part of that. They want to partner with fashion brands, and with social media, I think there’s a snowball effect. But yeah, I think everyone’s a little bit sad that it feels sometimes like something has been lost. But it’s like everything — at the end of the day it’s big business. Everybody’s got to make a buck, I just think it’s sad that someone can’t make a buck — or maybe feels like they can’t — doing something really sumptuous and beautiful and artistic."
"There is no corporate entity that could at all cause something to happen with this much chaos, this much fun, and make this much commerce happen at the same time. I don’t think that Fashion Week is missing any magic whatsoever, especially with a calendar that is so jam-packed, there’s not even time to grab a latte in between. New York Fashion Week has become a world stage. I don’t think at any point anyone can say this has not been an exciting week. I could not sleep! This is an industry of excitement, of fun, of beauty, of glamour. And if we can’t find the joy in fantastic clothes, how can we express that joy to the consumers on the other end?"
"I think it’s the inevitable shift in the industry. The industry long ago stopped being this sort of charming, mom-and-pop world, and became much more corporate. But the corporate gave us Marc Jacobs, and it gave us Tom Ford, so I think it’s just sort of a gut reaction to say that because it’s become more corporate it’s somehow become more sanitized. I do think, at least here [in New York] there’s far more new, younger designers who have the ability to show because of corporate sponsorship than we ever see in Milan or Paris. I mean, seeing a new designer in Milan is a rare thing because it’s just that much more difficult. I have my moments when I’m like, ‘Oh my God,’ at the round of shows, like ‘Who’s gonna blow me away?’ But I tend to think that a lot of the corporate-ness of fashion has actually been really good for it."
"I definitely feel like London Fashion Week, to me, is my favorite fashion week, because I feel like it’s much more creative and less self-conscious. I feel like New York is very self-conscious, and it’s sort of blogger culture and street-style culture has made everyone overly self-aware, and everyone's afraid they're going to get tweeted at or get caught doing something. And it sort of takes the fun out of it all, because everyone's trying to be too cool. Going to Fashion Week should make people feel so much emotion, because these people live and breathe it, but everyone just looks like they're at a funeral. When I was a little kid, when I used to watch Jeanne Beker on Fashion Television at Isaac Mizrahi shows, I thought there was a joyfulness in fashion that's been sort of lost, in a sense. And people would rather go home and Tweet about how something gave them the chills than to show any facial expression."
"I don’t believe that [fashion has gotten too corporate]. Otherwise I wouldn’t be here. Otherwise bloggers wouldn’t be here. I mean, sure there’s an element of corporate-ness here, but I think fashion has never been more creative. A lot of designers are pushing their boundaries, pushing the envelope, and fashion has never been more extravagant. Everybody’s really focusing on their craft, and every garment out there is well-embellished. I would look at all of these designer clothes from the past, they’re all, like, crappy. I mean, the quality is shit. But now that everybody is fighting for the consumer, designers are offering more."