Still from a 1920s fashion reel (from British Pathé archives)
This season (hopefully with Sarah’s help) I’ll try to review some experimental fashion shows and sustainable ones taking place in New York, since we both live here. The fact that (alas) a relatively small number of New York shows fall into those categories makes the task relatively more manageable, although I am sure we’ll cover a very partial list, due to time constraints….
I should add the disclaimer that personally I am not a huge fan of the fashion show format. They often read as a highly non-participatory and slightly alienating spectacles. My boyfriend, who sometimes comes with me to the shows, had the interesting comment that they seem like extremely cheap weddings, where all you get is the ceremony. It’s interesting to note that in the Paris couture salons, where the format of today’s shows originated, the presentation would last significantly longer and would be repeated several times per season for various groups of clients. For an excellent article on the history of the fashion show and its relation to modernity, see Caroline Evans, “Multiple, Movement, Mode, Model” in the anthology she co-edited with Christopher Breward Fashion and Modernity, while for highly entertaining footage of 1910 and 1920s fashion reels (which include some early fashion shows) you can visit the British Pathé archives.