On Paris Fashion Week
The four cities have now shown their millions of collections. Hundreds of words have already been written and Instagram has staggered under the weight of images. Conclusions? The bigger the brand, the bigger the worries. Gucci “more of the same”, Christian Dior “is she staying say the rumours”, Lanvin “dreadful”, Calvin Klein “too difficult” – and so it goes on across the globe. Meanwhile, the smaller tightly-run fashion labels carry on working, and showing their beautiful and interesting clothes. These brands talk to the buyers, customers and the press, and have a dialogue: they feed this back into their work, they adjust and develop. They don’t need the pages of advertising in the rapidly dwindling glossy magazines; they don’t need celebrity endorsement on the Red Carpet. Their ambition is to make good clothes which sell and run a successful business, but not create a mega-brand.
"conspicuous consumption is not seen as an especially attractive trait right now".
With so many more people now knowing much more about what suits them - as well as being relaxed enough to wear what they want - the mega brands cannot complete with these new brands. It is becoming increasingly unfashionable to wear the mega-brands as it seems to pinpoint you as simply a consumer, not a discerning individual. Let’s hope too that the high street follows suit.
It’s now harder and harder to understand the differences in cultures, lifestyle, climate and politics across the globe. Fashion matches the mood of the world we live in, and the world isn’t in the mood for fashion to be challenging. Over-styled, over-accessorised and seasonal pieces with as fast a sell-by date as something in a greengrocery are of use to only a tiny minority. Even amongst the very rich, conspicuous consumption is not seen as an especially attractive trait right now.
So, my highlights are the quiet, the discreet, imaginative and clever creators of great clothes. You may not have heard of Cyclas, Gauchère, Victoria/Tomas, Mazarine, Beautiful People, and many others except the buyers and the clients have.
It’s the time to think about how solid the foundations of your business are. It’s time to look up and see the world around you and the reason for your product - be it a lipstick or a car, it just needs to be right. Research and a careful look at where, who, why, what, how and when is best right now before taking a step.
This is one of a series of articles from fashion and trends expert and writer Tony Glenville. Tony is Consultant Creative Director to London College of Fashion (LCF), University of the Arts London. He is Couture Editor for Luxure magazine, and his prolific career in fashion journalism has seen him covering the major fashion scene, haute couture, and London and Paris Fashion Weeks, as well as working with NOWFASHION, Schön!, Antidote, Lash, Narcisse and Renaissance magazines. He is author of the books Top to Toe, a guide to men's grooming and New Icons of Fashion Illustration. He also works closely with Fashion Scout and is a judge at Graduate Fashion Week.