Business of Fashion, April 4, 2016

The Power of Emotional Experiences

"There has been much hand-wringing about the fashion month just ended..." By Imran Amed

There has been much hand-wringing about the fashion month just ended. While the dominant topic was the rise of ‘fashion immediacy’ and direct-to-consumer shows, it’s pretty clear we are far from consensus on this issue. Indeed, after meeting with designers, chief executive officers, retailers, wholesalers and the fashion councils in Italy, France and the US, it’s pretty clear that the questions surrounding the fashion system and the role of shows will take some time — possibly several years — to sort themselves out. […] Walking into the Balenciaga showspace on Sunday morning, there was certainly a sense of anticipation about Demna Gvasalia’s debut for the storied house. Personally, I wondered whether he would be able to carve out a distinctive identity for Balenciaga, one that would be differentiated from the red-hot street-inflected aesthetic of Vetements and respectful of the architectural precision of Cristóbal Balenciaga.

It turned out to be all of that — and more. Demna had thought of the entire experience from the moment we walked into the venue, where little speakers squawking out unintelligible noise lined the route downstairs into a huge underground television studio. The walls were insulated with grey padding and there were no windows at all. We really could have been anywhere in the world. […] With all this talk of so-called ‘fashion immediacy,’ I wonder what will happen to real experiences, when you actually feel something beyond the clothes and the fashion circus because a designer has thought so carefully about the moment they are trying to create. Both shows were small and on a human scale, where one could appreciate the clothes up close. Can these kinds of intimate experiences really be translated up at scale for thousands, if not millions, of end consumers?
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