Burberry Will Shift To Buy-Now Runway Shows
UPDATED: Tom Ford Follows Suit

Burberry's Fall/Winter 2016 Runway Show held in London last month

As as public fascination for the once industry-only runway shows of Fashion Weeks around the world, the entire runway show system is being upended, Designers are now questioning the wisdom of presenting their collections six months ahead of the time when they will be available for customers to purchase, and several designers have already announced that the collections they present at New York Fashion Week for when next week will be composed of merchandise to be immediately available. So far, the biggest luxury names have mused about possible changes, none have pulled the trigger on radically altering their presentation concepts —until today. Burberry's chief creative and executive officer Christopher Bailey has announced that starting this September, the label's runway shows will present only merchandise available immediately after the conclusion of the runway show. Only two shows will be presented per year mixing both men's and women's collections, eliminating separate men's shows of which the one held a few weeks ago at London Fashion Week Men's (pictured above) will have been the company's last.
Burberry has been dynamic in recent months when it comes to taking a hard look at how it does business and communicates to customers. Last year, the brand made the decision to consolidate its various diffusion labels under a singular Burberry Brand, merging both its luxury Prorsum and more accessible London and Brit collections. It's a move that eliminates the question of what is the "real" label for customers and puts it more in line with international mega-brands like Gucci or Louis Vuitton which have always eschewed sub-brands.
How this will affect other luxury level designers remains to be seen, but the restlessness in the crowded runway show schedule is clear with major designers increasingly using their clout to show their collections when they see fit. Hedi Slimane has announced that both the men's and part of the women's Fall 2016 Saint Laurent would be held next Wednesday, February 10th in Los Angeles where he lives and maintains his studio rather than in Paris, the home of one of France's most revered fashion maisons. Tom Ford, for his part has often moved his shows around to suit his own convenience, showing in different fashion capitals and even moving his show to Oscar Weekend in Los Angeles a year ago to accommodate the shooting schedule for his upcoming movie. Last season, he abandoned the runway altogether in favor of a music video starring Lady Gaga and a Soul Train line of dancing models, and for Fall 2016, he has announced that he will show both men's and women's lines to buyers and press in intimate presentations in New York.
So no livestream, then?
The longtime paradigm of multiple Fashion Weeks in various international cities is now entering a stage of flux that could change the way fashion is presented everywhere. Hang on. This is just the beginning.

Tom Ford has announced in Burberry's wake that he too would be showing Fall 2016 Collections in September of this year. He tells WWD, “Our customers today want a collection that is immediately available. Fashion shows and the traditional fashion calendar, as we know them, no longer work in the way that they once did. We spend an enormous amount of money and energy to stage an event that creates excitement too far in advance of when the collection is available to the consumer."

Burberry’s Bold Move: To Make Shows Direct to Consumer, Tom Ford Switches Show to Consumer Schedule (WWD)


Billy Reid Will Livestream His NYFW Runway Show For The First Time Tonight At 8

Men's Fashion Week in New York is still catching up a bit with its women's counterpart, but it is coming together well. To help promote the whole effort, Billy Reid will be live streaming his Fall 2016 Men's collection tonight at 8 PM for the first time from NYFW Men's at Skylight Clarkson Square North. Click the image above to get to his site. It'll be just like being there in person. In fact, given the weather report tonight, it might even be better.


Duckie Brown Pares Down

They weren't kidding when they called it "Just A Little Duckie".
Steven Cox and Daniel Silver gave the menswear crowd a jolt yesterday morning with their surprising Duckie Brown show at NYFW Men's which lasted for exactly six looks. That's the entire collection pictured above.
What did it all mean? 
It seems clear that the duo was presenting a 'Back to Basics' moment. The label has had its ups and downs over the past few years with a surprise hit shoe collaboration with Florsheim that put the brand in front of en exponentially larger customer base than it had ever seen before. A follow-up apparel line with Perry Ellis fizzled, however, with nothing of the collaboration ever seeing production. The designers have been candid lately about the struggles of being independent designers once the lucrative collaborations end, and their response has been to pare down their collection to the most basic pieces. As the fashion world has finally caught up with Duckie Brown's signature explorations in androgyny, Cox and Silver have turned to the core items of men's clothing. Blazers, pants, shirts and coats all reshaped with Duckie Brown proportions. Sometimes, less really is more, especially when it's time to start again from scratch.


Fashion Week Is Falling Apart Again, But It's OK Because Tom Ford Is Coming Back!

Now that it has abandoned its unloved tent complex at Lincoln Center for some alarmingly stark quarters in SoHo and the glacially developing Moynihan Station in Midtown, the future of New York Fashion Week still seems to be in question. The CFDA has retained Boston Consulting Group to conduct a multi-week study to determine how designers should proceed with their seasonal runway shows in the future. With Thakoon's new owners promising to upend the runway system to provide a stronger buy-now wear-now business plan and  Rebecca Minkoff promising to put on an in-season show of her Spring 2016 collection this February (does that mean she is going to re-show the collection she already presented last September?) and replace some editors and press in the audience with customers, Designers are once again questioning the wisdom of heavily publicizing their newest collections online and through social media half a year before anyone can actually buy anything. Retailers and designers are again offering opinions, without seeming to realize that if they turned fashion week into a series of buy-now promotional events, they would have to the put on some other kinds of presentations for the next season for retailers and editors who still need long lead times to fill their stores and shoot their stories. European designers -for whom live streaming runway shows to anyone with a high-speed internet connection is far more prevalent- seem to have looked in the direction of New York to basically say, "Let us know how that goes. We're going to keep doing things the way we always have".
While New York's designers quibble about what to put on runways —their main concern seems to be keeping their collections under wraps to avoid fast-fashion copyists— one expat has announced that he will be returning to show his Fall 2016 collections for men and women in New York. Yes, Tom Ford, who has been bending the fashion system to his fit his own needs for the past two seasons, has announced that he will be doing small presentations in New York on February 18th to buyers and press rather than showing in Milan or London where he has been showing in the past. Ford has been busy moonlighting on his next movie which is why last Spring he debuted his Fall 2015 collection with a star-studded show in Los Angeles during Oscar week, and stayed off the runways altogether for his Spring 2016 collection by releasing a secretly produced virtual runway show/disco party/music video starring Lady Gaga which was a hell of a lot more entertaining than a good portion of the runway shows that The Shophound has ever attended (we have embedded it below again because it is still just so much fun to watch). For the past two seasons, Ford has proved that he has enough clout and control over his wholly owned business to basically do whatever he wants for fashion week, but like Givenchy's visit to New York last September, you can now count on Ford's intimate showings in February to be the hottest ticket that will overshadow everyone else. Perhaps he is telling us that the way to win Fashion Week is to be bold and show however you want wherever it suits you. Who will have the guts to follow his lead?

Tom Ford to Show Women’s Wear, Men’s Wear in New York in February (WWD)


Tom Ford's Spring/Summer 2016 Show Is A Dreamy Lady Gaga Video

Tom Ford
is busy with a new movie right now, so the question of where and when he would show his Spring 2016 women's collection has been in the air over the past few weeks. He announced that there would be no runway show this season, and teased a video that has finally hit the web this morning, and it looks like more fun than any runway show you'll stream this season.
Ford enlisted photographer Nick Knight, a gaggle of the hottest models on the runways including Mica Arganaraz, Lexi Boling, Kayla Scott, Xaio Wen Ju, Valery Kaufman, Aymeline Valade, Lida Fox, Lucky Blue Smith, Alex Dunstan, David Agbodji and Tarun Nijjer and, the real surprise, Lady Gaga, who recorded a special cover of Chic's "I Want Your Love" for a disco soaked 3 minutes and 36 seconds of pure fashion pleasure in the form of an old fashioned Soul Train-style runway party. On his website, Ford explains how it all came together,

Instead of having a traditional show this season, I wanted to think about how to present a collection in a cinematic way that was designed from its inception to be presented online. I have always loved "Soul Train" which used to be on TV in the 70's; as it was as much about the clothes the music. I asked Nile Rodgers to collaborate on a new version of one of his great hits from that time, "I Want Your Love," and worked with Gaga to record the vocals. I then staged a full show in Los Angeles and filmed it with Gaga on the runway, Nick Knight directing and Benoit Delhomme as our director of photography.

Now, why won't anyone let models move like this on the real runways anymore?
Watch and rewatch over and over again below.


The New Look Of NYFW Is All Business

When it was officially announced that Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week would be leaving its most recent tent complex at Lincoln Center, nobody in New York's fashion community was particularly disappointed. Ultimately, the heavy presence of sponsors and increasingly irrelevant promotional events turned fashion folks against the concept of centralized shows that, at its inception as 7th on Sixth two decades earlier, had been hailed as New York Fashion Week's coming of age.
Well, if an absence of sponsors and promotional activity is what they wanted, then that is wha they got. Now unencumbered of its auto industry title sponsor, the newly renamed NYFW: The Shows is going back to basics in a dramatic way with a spare, bare bones set-up in the raw construction space of the future Moynihan Station and a clean, minimalist white space at Skylight Clarkson Square in SoHo.  Of course, the many sponsor booths that were so reviled are gone in the future train station, except for a single Tresemmé mini-salon discreetly off to the side, and, ever more incongruously, a small balcony studio for E!'s Fashion Police (pictured below), the show that will not die even after the only real reason to watch it did. If you used to look forward to grabbing a bottle of Vitamin Water from a handy bin or refrigerator, you will now have to line up at a single window in each location where an attendant will hand you a single bottle —so no more stocking up on free water on your way out, fashion folks. If you are feeling peckish and need a quick bite to eat, as far as we could tell, you will be out of luck at both locations where the standard overpriced cafe featuring sandwiches and other snacks that had come to be a standard fixture was nowhere to be seen. Even the rack of gratis fashion periodicals, always a popular feature, was hidden around a corner by the bathrooms.
It is a move from one extreme to another. Instead of the padded benches we once saw around the main lobby at Lincoln Center, there are now bleachers in midtown on the back wall for anyone who needs to wait around between shows or just wants to sit down (pictured above). A few press tables are hidden at the top, and the arrangement is indeed practical but could easily have been executed with a bit more comfort in mind. Still, it's better that the Skylight Clarkson Square arrangement. While the NYFW: Men's set up in July in the same location was practical but comfortable with little oppressive promotional activity, the current version is all optic white walls and empty space.
The effect of this stripped-down Fashion Week is that of a palate cleanser to say the least. Perhaps the strategy is to show designers who eschewed the tents over the years that WME-IMG's Fashion Week arrangement could be just as spartan as a raw space in the Financial District if that's the vibe they were looking for. But then, Fashion folks can be, dare we say, a bit fickle. After a few runway seasons without random makeup giveaways and other various free stuff, showgoers may be longing for the good old days of sponsor booths and swag. Be careful what you wish for.


Givenchy's New Madison Avenue Boutique Is Busy With Shoppers While Its NYFW Debut Invites The Public In

It has taken nearly two years for the folks at Givenchy to transform the space at the corner of Madison Avenue and 65th Street into it's new flagship store (pictured above), and in that time, the space's former resident, Valentino has renovated a new multi-level store on Fifth Avenue as well as created a slightly smaller store on Madison, and Alexander McQueen has taken over the space next door which was also part of Valentino's boutique. 
Why it took Givenchy so long to get what is a sleek but not architecturally complex store open remains a mystery, but who can ever fully explain Manhattan construction delays? In the time since the store was announced, the Givenchy brand, which was just hitting its stride as a revived Haute Couture maison, has grown in stature almost exponentially. That is probably why on a muggy Monday afternoon on the last day of August, while most of the other stores in New York City were enduring the week-before-Labor-Day doldrums, the new Givenchy store was hopping with customers —and not "just looking" customers, but serious, buying customers.
Clearly, there is some pent-up demand for the Riccardo Tisci designed version of Givenchy that has been anticipating the arrival of the new boutique. The store is cleanly designed with a graphic black and white interior that sets of Tisci's often dark and graphic collections. Inspired by an art gallery (which is, frankly not a novel idea for a designer boutique in this day and age) the store's notable focal point is a group of high counters for accessories in the center of the store, neatly arrayed with handbags with their breathtaking prices noted beside them on the plank. The arrangement oddly recalls the original Helmut Lang boutique in SoHo which greeted visitors with similarly blocky displays, but these days, highlighting profit-making accessories is nothing novel. Apparel is relegated to the sides, and the men's line, another area of strong growth, is in the mezzanine upstairs in the back and set off by white glass-tiled walls.
The store is getting off to a strong start, and despite the fact that Barneys appears to carry about three times as much Givenchy merchandise a few blocks away, there remains a clear desire among some shoppers to buy in designers' own stores.
To celebrate the long awaited store, Tisci will take the unusual step of debuting the Spring 2016 Givenchy collection during New York Fashion Week on September 11th. While not unprecedented for a Parisian house to show in New York —Nicolas Ghesquière showed his Fall 2003 Balenciaga collection here to help promote the label's first U.S. boutique in Chelsea— it is a pretty rare occurrence that, this year, will help fill the void left by the unexpected departure of the Donna Karan Collection from the schedule. Creating even more excitement, the house announced today that it will distribute hundreds of tickets to the show to the public, another unusual move that is likely to set off just a touch of Wonka-like frenzy to get in as the date approaches. If it seems like Givenchy is hijacking New York Fashion Week, then you can feel confident that this is probably a one-time thing, but this season's fragmented Fashion Week can probably use the extra excitement as it tests out a new arrangement that spreads official shows between Moynihan Station in midtown and Skylight Clarkson Square in western SoHo.


Men's Fashion Week Wraps Up With Orley, Lucio Castro, deTROIT & Edmund Ooi

New York's first properly organized Men's Fashion Week finished up yesterday in a calm, collected manner that contrasted pleasantly with the exhausted get-me-out-of-here feeling one often encountered at the end of the formerly combined New York Fashion Weeks of the past. Of course, NYFW: Women's will probably generate the same kind of frenzy anyway, bit for the menswear folks who had to endure it, the lack of drama was welcome. In fact, the only question was posed mostly by contrarian journalists who insisted on posing the question, "do we reeally neeeed another fashion week?" For the big names like Michael Kors and John Varvatos, it probably doesn't matter, but for emerging and independent designers, the answer is an emphatic yes.
These are the guys who get lost in crush of hundreds of shows when forced to share a schedule with women's designers. Take deTROIT, a new label from designer Robert Molnar (pictured above). Named after his hometown (where along with New York, the collection is entirely manufactured), Molnar's collection wouldn't be getting the same opportunity for attention before, and now it gets a proper chance to compete for the attention of buyers who aren't rushing from show to show in far flung venues because all of the central ones are booked up. They might have missed Molnar's thoughtful tweaks of classic shapes in fuller, softer more current silhouettes that fit in easily into menswear trends for spring with red-painted feet for an extra dash of kookiness.
Next, The Shophound slipped into Platform 2 to checkout ORLEY's offerings for next season. Designers are getting the hang of how to use these new spaces. The Orley's decided to forgo a traditional runway and set up vignettes around the perimeter of the room with mid-century furniture and oriental rugs. The models circled the room, posing at stations to be viewed and photographed by the standing audience, negating the need for seating arrangements and giving everyone a good view while taking full advantage of the entire space. The collection. It was a better way to show off the still evolving label's dedication to intricate knitting techniques than having a model swiftly stride by on a runway. These sweaters bear a lingering gaze, and while some of the styling seemed a bit more edgy than the brand's fresh-faced fashion image would have called for thus far (no more greasy hair please and thank you), you could see how some of the cropped sweaters will sell nicely at retail when they ship at a more classic length. The show also included more woven pieces to round out a full collection as well as some striking decorated sneakers made in collaboration with Greats, and though the finale-free format made the actual finish of the show somewhat unclear, the designers got a strong ovation when they made it out for a bow.
Toward the end of the day, LUCIO CASTRO staged his runway/presentation hybrid on platform 3. Castro is another of New York's striving up-and-comers in his first seasons with retailers like Bloomingdale's and Saks who stands to gain the most from a separate men's Fashion Week. This season it was a tribute to Nollywood, Nigerian Hollywood, said to be the world's second largest film industry. This brought out inspired prints and pattern combinations on a model cast that was appropriately but not gratuitously diverse.
Up on 14th Street, a more avant garde component of Fashion Week took it stage as Malaysian born, Belgium based designer EDMUND OOI presented his first New York show. Were the many pantsless looks and cut-out styles likely to make their way into Saks or Nordstrom? Probably not anytime soon, but Ooi's year-old company has already been invited to Pitti Imagine Uomo and his last collection's show was sponsored by Giorgio Armani in Milan. Each look was full of ideas —overflowing with them, in fact, but if you can look past the trailing lacing and skimpy briefs (and some really cool shoes), you might find a uncanny eye for innovative knit effects and graphic patterns that point to an inventive designer to emerge from under all the flashy details. Ooi rounds out the spectrum of designers that make a men's fashion week in New York not only worthwhile but necessary.
Have a look at the shows in the gallery below.

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New York Fashion Week Men's Is Unveiled With Shinola, Timo Weiland, Duckie Brown & Robert Geller

Yesterday The Shophound finally got a look at the long awaited New York Fashion Week: Men's at Skylight Clarkson Square on the northwestern edge of SoHo —and it looks good. Pretty much anything would be an improvement over cramming the American men's designer shows into the overstuffed women's schedule, but the new set-up seem to be working well, as far as we could tell, though some designers seemed to have growing pains in leaving their familiar showing spaces.
The good part is that the oppressive promotional atmosphere of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week is gone, and on a day where scattered showers could make traveling around town problematic, a central location saved us and others from potential drenching.  Also, since the shows are in a real building, there are real bathrooms —an amenity whose importance is not to be underestimated. The sponsors are fewer and more relevant. Cadillac's show car is parked on the sidewalk where it belongs rather than in the middle of things leaving lots of room for showgoers to sit down, charge their devices and get to work without having to squeeze into some cramped press pen. Amazon has kept its promotional presence relevant, focusing on the fashion division it is dedicated to growing. Another major sponsor, SHINOLA (pictured above), used its space to present its Spring 2016 collection, giving the Shophound a chance to chat with our friend Richard Lambertson of Lambertson Truex who have transformed the Detroit-based brand's  artisanally styled leather line into a fully fledged accessories collection ready to compete at the top levels in quality and design with other luxury brands. No longer a charming side offering to the watches and bikes, the line boasts the same sumptuous leathers we are used to seeing from Shinola, now made into beautifully constructed duffels, backpacks, messenger bags and small leather goods featuring the thoughtful topstitching and details that erstwhile Lambertson Truex fans will recognize. Lambertson now shuttles between New York and Detroit where his design studio and sample workrooms are located, and like all of Shinola's products, the entire collection is manufactured in the U.S.A.

Next we were off to check out TIMO WEILAND's presentation. Platform 3, as the venue was called is a smaller room meant for static presentations. In recent seasons, the label has been showing its menswear at the Highline Hotel's cavernous space, and the move to a smaller room was not without its glitches. perhaps next season, they will avoid making a v-shaped presentation format that basically pushed the showers into a bottleneck against the narrower end of the room. Live and learn, but the collection looked fresh, a priority with the added attention a dedicated men's fashion week will bring. Known for a twisted take on preppy clothes, designers Weiland, Alan Eckstein and Donna Kang gave us more twist and less preppy for a more sophisticated feeling and a more international look. The line looked great. The presentation format needs rethinking.

Shophound Faves DUCKIE BROWN also had some relocation pains in moving from their longtime venue at Industria to the larger Platform 2 room at Clarkson Square. Menswear's current fascination with androgyny should put the veteran indie label right in its spotlight, as Steven Cox and Daniel Silver have been mixing masculine elements and traditionally feminine materials since day one. Their Spring 2016 collection found a way to continue their techniques without looking like their models stumbled through their mothers' closets or ransacked an overpriced thrift shop like a few high-profile European luxury brands have. Unfortunately, what was uncharacteristically awkward was the show staging which had half of the models walking the runway in shadow, frustrating the photographers who, as they will, made their displeasure known vocally. Having guest seated only on one side of the runway also left large portion of the room unused which seemed ill-advised. Again, with added attention to menswear this week, one would have liked such an accomplished collection to simply be seen better.

ROBERT GELLER, however, made the most of his new space. Used to showing in along, narrow, sometimes problematic space at Pier 59 Studios, the designer took to the spacious Platform 1 with apparent ease, constructing a northern European seaside-inspired set and a J-shaped runway format that made the most of the complex's largest room. Geller's sportswear beautifully reflected menswear's slow but steady move away from tight silhouettes toward looser fitting clothes with his rich color sense in full effect. Quirky hats and knitted cummerbunds pulled the looks together. Overall it was an upgrade in presentation for Geller along with a further evolution for his label.
Have a glimpse at the shows in the gallery below

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