The latest season of Fashion Week events have just ended and, as usual, many of the products and designs on display were met with much derision from the public. This time round was no different and this year’s most highly criticised items included Chanel’s “Hula-Hoop” bag and Celine’s furry shoes which, away from the catwalk, are practically useless and un-wearable; something that is unlikely to be embraced by the average high street shopper. As many Fashion Week styles are often ludicrous to the extreme of lacking any practical, or even commercial, values, it is quite a reasonable question to ask why these shows exist in the first place and why they should matter to the average high-street shopper?
The reason is quite simple – although many of the designs shown at such events are extreme examples, partially created to gain the designer some headlines in the media, there are many more understated variations which are far more likely to prove influential in both the long and the short term. So, although Chanel got the headlines this year due to their anti-anthropometric bag designs, many more of the brand’s less avant garde items, none of which gained half as much media attention, are likely to prove the better selling and more popular options away from the confines of a catwalk. It is usually, however, the slightly less extreme variations of the designs which gain headlines which often end up trickling down onto the high street and into mainstream fashion.
Fashion Weeks are often held to set the mood of a market and usually sway what trends will be important in the next few seasons. So, although spiked and studs and similar adornments for footwear are now almost omnipresent in many retail outlets, their genesis came, rather unsurprisingly, on the catwalk with high end designers looking for eye-catching and attention grabbing embellishments for their design. Whereas the look was initially rather extreme, by the time it was watered down and tamed for mass consumption, the style made more sense – the studs and spikes now act as a variation of patterning rather than a statement trying to challenge the notion of what a shoe should or should not contain.
Fashion shows are not actually invented to be entirely revolutionary. No one designer looks to re-invent the wheel for the most part and, in fact, many clothing lines that are designed are, for the most part, variations on a theme. It is simply that the most outlandish items will get the most press and further the idea that fashion shows are full of lunatic designs all concerned with being both impractical and unsellable. Instead, fashion shows are, for the most part, like a film trailer – they both highlight to the viewer what will be happening in the months ahead (in terms of the film’s plot and a trend’s designs) whilst the talking points after will mainly focus on the most outlandish elements (an explosion or a pair of furry yellow Celine shoes). Whilst an explosion will perhaps take up five seconds of a three hour film’s running time, so too will a pair of Celine shoes only represent a fraction of time, but one of the more note-worthy points, of a Fashion Week show.
Fashion Weeks shows matter because they are able to give a taster of the trends that will come in the near future; they will help set the mood whilst also, whether it is on purpose or otherwise, providing entertainment through the more ridiculous aspects of its nature.
Kieron Casey is a fashion writer who blogs regularly on the latest style trends. He suggests checking out Barratts new shoes collections for a range of footwear that are practical and wearable!