Fashion Correspondent Abi Buller writes:
With the current melting-pot of creative talent saturating the fashion industry, it is no mean feat to produce a well-received and memorable brand presentation during the madness that is fashion month. Coinciding with an ever-changing influx of fashion trends, seasons, campaigns and shows, fashion communication and promotion has seen an enhanced prominence of catwalk alternative offerings in recent seasons, leading to a rethink in brand presence.
London’s fashion week offering included an array of conventional shows in various locations, from the Tate Britain to Central Saint Martins with carefully considered set design to reflect the mood and tone of the collection. One example of this communication is Mary Katrantzou’s show, inspired by childhood love and a nostalgic passion for dressing up, reflected in the set and atmosphere through an array of silver balloons and music by Dolly Parton.
In stark contrast, Roksanda’s catwalk offering portrayed an atmosphere of dark romanticism with the set design by Gary Card able to inspire a poetic and dream-like fantasy through a midnight blue colour palette and abstracted figures.
In a less conventional and newer sense, this season also saw a variety of fashion presentations on offer. In an attempt to divert from the typical set up of a catwalk and models in motion, the idea here is to display the clothing on stationary models, reflecting the notion of an exhibition and something which allows for a more thorough audience interaction with the clothing.
With direct comparison to fine art exhibitions, it seems highly appropriate that the location of choice for many presentations was the ICA museum. It was here that both Sid Negium and Manuel Facchini, among others, displayed their collections; both with unique communicative and atmospheric ideals. With Sid Negium’s fascination with mathematic construction, and the balance between immaculate structure and an organic composition, this enigmatic concept was well reflected through an underground location, low lighting and upbeat music. Meanwhile, Manuel Facchini inhabited the lighter, more open spaces of the gallery, incorporating reflection and illusion into the setting through a construction of mirrors.
Whilst the fashion cycle is attempting to change, we can consider the prominence and relevance of a slower, more personal connection through presentations as a fresh offering to shows. This is as a result of the desire for something which isn’t novelty or throw-away, and can adjust to the need for a slower-paced industry.
The creation of experience based communication is one which seems to have run in tandem with the cultural trend to document, curate and share our moments through social media. Although the physical presence of fashion and its documentation is constantly being refreshed and updated, this season as ever, proved that the industry’s appeal is through the experience and stories created as much as the garments themselves.