Posted by: Rachel Iwanec
Tom Ford recently announced that he is embracing bloggers, photographers and the whole insta-manic critics. Unlike his past fashion shows, Mr. Ford is permitting the whole frenzy to be present at the premiere of his Fall ’13 presentation. In the past fashion weeks we have seen a handful of designers taking control over the already exclusive list of fashion show attendees. This leads me to question who, if anyone, should have the power to restrict the accessibility of one’s show? Can exclusivity still prevail over the internet’s lack there of ?
Drama ensued at last seasons’ Spring 13 Paris fashion week when newly appointed Hedi Slimane exercised his power over journalists’ standard entrée to the unveiling of his first season at Saint Laurent. Among the declined attendees was the New York Times fashion journalist, Cathy Horyn. While known for her sometimes scathing reviews, Horyn is a very respected figure in the fashion industry who’s words hold weight over designer’s fate.
Slimane’s intentional exclusion of Ms. Horyn’ is indicative of the power critics hold over the general opinions formed about a collection. Furthermore it calls into question the value or necessity of a critic, if they’re involvement is at the whim of the designer. Are the viewpoints of these critics to be held above all others? Everyone can, in some way, experience the catwalk, in what some would argue, from a better spot than some editors in the front row. The demand for immediacy has trumped the desire for a sense of inclusion through exclusion.
In her memoir, Grace, Grace Coddington recounts the experience of attending fashion shows in the beginning of her fashion career. In her opinion, there is an oversaturation of critics. With the raising number of bloggers, everyone has the ability to express his or her response to what they see on the runway. So who are we supposed to look to for the answers?
Can we really blame designers for wanting to preserve their vision without the tainting of everyone’s opinions? In a way I would agree with Ms. Coddington, there are far too many voices and not enough designers. By the same token, designers must possess a more accepting standpoint to the ever-expanding mass of critics.