A normal person’s guide to understanding a Fashion Week runway show
In one of the most canada goose outlet store dynamic runway shows last fall, Thom Browne ended his Paris presentation with a model dressed canada goose outlet uk in white guiding an enormous unicorn puppet. Two dancers, padded like marshmallows, had opened the show, flitting and twirling across the wooden floor of the majestic City Hall. In between, models crept precariously atop daunting canada goose outlet in usa heels in exquisite attire one could never wear to the neighborhood market.
What is a casual consumer of fashion supposed to make of such a sight?
canada goose parka outlet uk A Browne creation for spring 2018, seen on thecanadagooseoutlet the runway last fall but unlikely to be seen on the street. (Jonas Gustavsson/MCV Photo For The Washington Post) canada goose parka outlet uk
Same here, obviously. (Jonas Gustavsson/MCV Photo For The Washington Post)
canada goose outlet price Not that long ago, the only people who would get to see such a fantastical presentation were fashion industry insiders and the journalists who cover that world. Now, however, some of the most theatrical and esoteric runway shows can be viewed by virtually anyone. Sponsors and charities enable those with a healthy bank account to buy their way into a show. Fashion houses live stream their canada goose outlet presentations, and journalists canada goose jacket outlet upload show videos almost before the designer has taken a bow or you can see pretty much the entirety of a collection on Instagram. canada goose outlet price
canada goose outlet montreal When runway shows veer toward the more experimental, they can be as confounding as expressionist canada goose outlet online art or atonal music. What does it mean? What is the point? Doesn’t anyone offer the equivalent of “music appreciation” classes to help a newcomer make sense of fashion? canada goose outlet montreal
A few fundamentals can make the experience more rewarding or, at least, less exasperating.
canada goose outlet edmonton As the fall 2018 runway shows begin in canada goose outlet nyc New York this week, some will be a straightforward parade of models in expensive but familiar looking clothes, presenting a simple idea: This is what I will offer for sale next season. canada goose outlet edmonton
Tom Ford’s super sexy aesthetic for spring 2018. (Jonas Gustavsson/MCV Photo For The Washington Post)
canada goose outlet los angeles More from Tom Ford: Is it canada goose outlet a dress or a shirt? (Jonas Gustavsson/MCV Photo For The Washington Post) canada goose outlet los angeles
Most designers need to project and to exaggerate so that their message reaches the cheap seats canada goose outlet parka or at least the most oversaturated canada goose factory outlet viewers. Tom Ford sells glamour and sex appeal to a confident, sophisticated customer. But on the runway, he turns up the volume. Nipples are visible, blazers are worn over bras, models wear tops but no bottoms. He forces the observer to ask: Is that acceptable? Is that decent?
canada goose outlet in vancouver Others have more complicated aspirations. Prabal Gurung says he wants to connect his runway show to the broader cultural conversation. Alexander Wang treats his presentations as parties emphasizing the street cool, canada goose outlet online uk nightlife loving attitude of his clothes. Tommy Hilfiger has used the runway as an enormous Instagram backdrop, organizing a two day carnival for his fall 2016 collection. Marc Jacobs crafts a mysterious fairy tale sometimes with provocative music, or more recently with a soundtrack of silence. canada goose outlet in vancouver
A worker prepares the runway before the Marc Jacobs show in New York in September 2016. (Andrew Kelly/Reuters)
canada goose outlet parka But whether the shows are straightforward official canada goose outlet or avant garde, they leave many civilians with questions: canada goose outlet parka
canada goose outlet store uk Why don’t the models smile? (Because they are in character, and have been given directions by the designer to appear strong, confident, tough, aloof, nonchalant, whatever.) canada goose outlet store uk
canada goose outlet uk sale Why are they walking so fast? (Because speed exudes energy and urgency. And when there are 10 shows in a single day, dawdling is annoying.) canada goose outlet uk sale
What’s with all the weird stuff? (Wouldn’t you get bored looking at little black dresses?)
Who would wear that? (Plenty of folks, maybe just not you.)
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“A novice should simply sit and enjoy a fashion show not over intellectualize it or under intellectualize it,” says Browne. “Everyone should have their own opinion to what they see in fashion shows. A good fashion show provokes some type of emotion, some type of feeling. A good fashion show you should either love or hate.”
The mushy middle is forgettable. Dispassion is failure.
canada goose sale uk A scene from Thom Browne’s fall 2018 canada goose black friday sale menswear show in Paris. “A good fashion show you should either love or hate,” Browne says. (Francois Guillot/AFP/Getty Images) canada goose sale uk
canada goose outlet houston Designers have been staging runway shows in New York since the 1940s when a rudimentary version of fashion week was established by the publicist Eleanor Lambert. A new book from the Council of Fashion Designers of America, celebrates this tradition, noting the cultural shifts that have transformed the runway, and the simple mechanics of how a show works, from set construction to the models’ facial expressions. canada goose outlet houston
It’s written by Booth Moore, who has covered the fashion industry for the Los Angeles Times and the Hollywood Reporter, reviewing countless runway shows over a decade. Still, her research left her surprised by both the amount of planning and the inevitable chaos that epitomize these productions.
canada goose outlet london uk “As slick as it looks online, there’s this high school musical element to it,” Moore says. canada goose outlet london uk
canada goose outlet online store Even the canada goose outlet uk sale most mainstream shows Tory Burch or Michael Kors, for example will exaggerate canada goose outlet jackets the hair and makeup on the models to create a heightened reality. “And every photo is photoshopped,” Moore notes, if only to correct for color or lighting. canada goose outlet online store
For designers determined to tell a whimsical story or challenge the prevailing wisdom, an audience must suspend disbelief, as with a novel that canada goose outlet shop indulges in magical realism.
canada goose outlet germany “Why a unicorn on the runway in Paris at this moment in history?” she asks rhetorically. “You’re not meant to take everything at face value.” canada goose outlet germany.