Hedi Slimane, What Are You thinking?

I don’t usually comment on the runway shows, since you know, there are people who do that for a living and all. But in this case, I just could not resist because this collection is too much like a huge traffic accident with bodies and body parts lying everywhere.

See, some runway collections awe by their beauty. Some collections shock, some entertain, some make sense. Some leave you saying ‘WTF?’

Hedi Slimane’s inaugural collection for Saint Laurent is in the WTF category. Flipping through the runway shots, you could definitely see what inspirations moved SLimane: Phantom of the Opera. Diane Keaton in Annie Hall. Your grandmother’s best jacket for weddings, and other important events. And these looks, which seem to have snuck in from another collection, maybe one inspired by LOTR? and of course, for a final movie reference, So, Jedi Knight You Want to Be?

It is a pretty tight collection, in that everything was black. But any sense of focus or direction stops there. The materials and the silhouettes are busy and incomprehensible. Lace-leather-chiffon-feathers-sequins-more-stuff-my mom’s art studio-Michael’s entire retail bead SKUs. There’s nothing wrong with any one of those materials. The silhouettes were just goofy juxtaposed together: Flowing robes-men’s wear-dominatrix chic-capes-hats.

There were some nice individual looks and features: I particularly liked the sharp men’s wear details and yes, the fedoras, but in a more wearable style. Ditch the pussy bows (yeah, it’s been a YSL feature for a gazillion years, but this collection wasn’t aided by it.

I guess the one nice thing about this collection: no prints. This may sound funny coming from someone who spends a lot of her time developing textile prints, but seriously, have you walked into a retail store this fall? Overdone and ugly prints. We at least were spared that in Slimane’s debut collection.

Well, there’s always next season. Hopefully he won’t be trying so hard and can at least remove the kitchen sink from the next collection.

Virtual Fashion at London Fashion Week

I am an avid reader of many fashion bloggers, including Luxury Experts from Sacha Orloff. Why? Well, being a fashion designer myself, I like to keep ahead of the trend on new ideas. A great way to do that is to track a selected group of fashion trend watchers and reporters.  I think fashion bloggers like Luxury Experts have their sights set on emerging trends like, for example, trends like ours using new technology in helping designers develop fashion. For example, today I was reading Sacha Orloff’s article about how “luxury fashion brands like Burberry are embracing the cyberworld.”

I agree with her position that leading brands are already taking steps to become digital leaders and influencers. We saw this quite clearly when Burberry created fashion history last February by allowing viewers to participate in a virtual 3D catwalk show.

But I also see this as only the first step. In fact, it’s why we think Virtual Runway™ is unique and leading charge to using these new technologies to help designers. Fashion designers need new options for getting their designs to market faster and they need the ability to reach a more global audience. A traditional fashion show, such as those you see produced for New York Fashion Week or London Fashion Week cost a lot of money to produce. In fact, a New York City runway show at Lincoln Center can easily tip the scales at $500,000.  Yes, that is a half million dollars, for some major hair-tearing back stage and some fast-paced fashion on the catwalk.

There are a great many wonderful designers whose work is stellar, but because they cannot afford to present a full scale runway show, their work will never be seen beyond a small, local audience.  For so many designers, showing their work on the runway simply doesn’t make fiscal sense.

Attending a runway show and seeing fabulous fashion up close and in person is an amazing experience.  I would never contend that this physical catwalk experience can be replaced.  However, I do think there will be an increasing number of options available to the emerging designer who wants to present their work in a similar format, but without breaking their budget.  For example, Virtual Runway enables designers to quickly and easily present a runway show, and allows designers to not only show their work to media, but also to sell directly from the runway through a few mouse clicks.  Virtual Runway turns a traditional marketing channel into a new sales channel while keeping the original marketing channel value.

Designers are already exploring these new channels, especially emerging designers for whom services like Virtual Runway enables them to have the runway experience at a fraction of the cost of a New York Fashion Week runway show.

Related articles:

Lights, Camera, Action! Runway 3.0 Models Take the Catwalk

Burberry to stream catwalk show in 3D simultaneously across the globe

Stars Turn Out for 3D Burberry Fashion Show