First Burberry, now Tom Ford and Vetements. It sounds like the age-old tradition of four menswear and womenswear shows a year might be on the way out. Last Friday, we reported on Burberry's seismic decision to present just two shows a year, backed by collections that will be readily available to purchase post-show. It was a headline-grabbing move for sure, but one that the British brand has probably been planning for a while, given that it was already selling pieces from its collections after each show.
However, Burberry's decision has sparked more designers to consolidate their collections into the same neat, androgynous category, with both Tom Ford and It-Parisian label Vetements announcing similar plan. "In a world that has become increasingly immediate, the current way of showing a collection four months before it is available to consumers is an antiquated idea and one that no longer makes sense," Ford told WWD. "We have been living with a fashion calendar and system that is from another era. Our customers today want a collection that is immediately available." Pledging to show his A/W '16 collection in Septmber, when it actually drops into stores means that Ford has canned his planned. February 18 womenswear and menswear show.
On the other hand, white-hot French label Vetements (helmed by new Balenciaga creative director Demna Gvasalia) is shunning the typical fashion calendar altogether and choosing to show its men's and women's collections in January and June, in between men's and couture. The move, scheduled to slide into place from January 2017, is said to address the production cycle problem facing so many designers today. This apparent disconnect between when the designers show and when the collections are actually available to purchase (a period of up to six months) has been compounded by the arrival of social media and an increasingly digital world.
The exhausting pace of the fashion calendar, not to mention the abundance of resort/cruise and pre-collections has placed undue pressure on many designers, but it's only recently that some have spoken out. While some may thrive on the stress, others (like Raf Simons) found the constant need for new ideas detrimental to the creative process. Sure, the (social media) genie may be out of the bottle, but that's not to say designers don't have the power to shift the fashion landscape, too. We can't wait to see how this issue continues to evolve...