Fashion, as an industry, survives because of commerce, and commerce is the result of carefully planned media exposure: everything that gets in the way, true criticism in primis, is seen as nothing less than danger, a menace to avoid at any cost. A case in point is the discrepancy between the frank and open, if studious and cautious, after-show talk and what actually filters through to the subsequent written reports. Fashion reporters have become masters of insinuation and understatement, and the subtle critiques that materialise often become nothing but passing frissons – background noise for corporations that have understood the value of column inches.
Many are those who today speak of the necessity of a ‘fashion revolution.’ Certainly there are some fundamental issues in the way fashion currently functions; the pressure on brands (high and low) to distribute garment collections at a faster pace, the question mark over the role of fashion weeks in the current climate (and the fashion show as the optimal model for displaying clothes), and the flux that the role of the ‘creative director’ of high fashion brands is currently undergoing – not to mention the ethical concerns that have dogged the industry for decades. In T Magazine’s ‘These Two Guys Are Changing How We Think About Fashion,’ Alexander Fury talks obliquely about rules that need to be broken, and implicates ‘the editors, the designers, the corporations’ as the manufacturers of these rules. But if the fashion system at large is at fault, what role does Fury and T Magazine (the editors) alongside Michele and Gvasalia (the designers) of Gucci and Balenciaga (the corporations) play?
‘You have to be relevant’ – thus spoke Suzy Menkes in a recent interview. But while Suzy Menkes remains one of the most publicly celebrated fashion journalists, is hers still a significant voice?
Irene is one of the fashion industry’s many éminence grises. In the late 1980s she became the fashion editor of Vogue Paris where she pioneered the work of photographers like Peter Lindbergh, Steven Meisel, Bruce Weber and Paolo Roversi, at the time all young and looking for a break.
It’s an open secret in the industry that advertising brands dictate editorial content, sometimes explicitly, often tacitly. Stories of reporters being banned from shows after unfavourable reviews belong to fashion folklore, but accounts of PR people demanding final approval of articles, interviews being cut short after an uncomfortable question and designers bringing their own recording devices to interviews are surprisingly common.