From runway to stage: How fashion shows itself today

There are many words that define the moment in which fashion is publicly presented: fashion show, catwalk, runway. Between all the semantic possibilities, which involve nuances and references both to history, to the kind of movement performed – it is difficult to chose the one which is able to define what actually goes on, every six months – or, I rather say, more and more often – on the stages that fashion colonises. To pin down the term that can actually gather all the different expressions, I’d go for fashion show, which holds together the idea of an exposition, be it still or in movement, of clothes which represent a flair, a style.

Fashion shows were actually not as ‘narrative’ as we consider them today. They were born to gather buyers and journalists and inform them of what a fashion house was producing. They are the tri-dimensional evolution of the circulation of plates and aimed mostly at enlarging the area of commercial influence. Fashion shows, for some countries – as Italy in 1951 – came up as a moment to showcase national identity; and that’s how they are seen today by the so-called upcoming fashion cities. The story behind fashion shows is complex and layered, but just stopping at the surface – that is, at their appearance as spectacle – is interesting to get some clues about the directions of design today.

What emerged as an economic tool has rapidly become advertorial, and then opened up to the myriad of possibilities that the stage offers; and what kind of ‘animal’ are fashion shows becoming now? The question arises after the latest fashion month – and, most of all, the Parisian spot – which has pushed the boundaries between fashion show and performance art, blurring the lines more and more. While most of the shows followed the ‘regular’ format of the catwalk, just reflecting upon the space in which models had to move, some designers have exploited the potential of the fashion show as a moment highly regarded by the press and the public. Rick Owens sent out couples of models-performers bounded up, one actually ‘wearing’ the other; they were not professional models though, and their bodies were informed of their profession, and far from the typical fashion silhouette. What Hussein Chalayan did was not even a catwalk: two models standing still in the middle of a crowded room were literally showered with water, which acted like a solvent on the clothes they were wearing, revealing other clothes underneath the first layer. I don’t know if the world ‘performance’ suits these kind of events, though. It is not just a matter of ‘like or hate’ anymore: fashion shows seem to be trying to become a meta-narrative operation, which waits for the reception and above all for the participation of the public to be complete. Nevertheless, they still portray something that is neither replicable nor empathic, and they present a reality that is true just within the border of fashion experimentalism. The participation of the public is surely central, above all considering the impact of social media not only on fashion as a show, but also on fashion as a product, but the positions and hierarchies are still very defined.

What is negated by these very actions that fashion practitioners are staging is indeed the materiality of fashion; it is not an economic matter anymore: fashion is a pretext to produce actions that surely do not want to be a mere showcase, nor they are meant to be just for a public of professionals; but also, they are not just highly ‘instagrammable’ moments, which get their value by the number of thumbs-up they receive on social networks. Even if, in the Chalayan show, clothes are actually the centre, we are not looking at them as a product, but as part of a process, a metaphor for the intricate relationship between instability, change and authenticity. The core problem is, then, what role do clothes have in this evolution of the runway? Does their design match with the shape of their presentation? Does it come before or after the idea of the show? What is clear is that these operations are re-defining the meaning of fashion itself as a wide platform in which clothes are just one of the elements that define design as a practice, and design as a spectacle.

Marta Franceschini 
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What will the new season bring?

As we slowly move away from the summer we also move towards the promise of the next warm season. For the next few weeks, we will see all the trends for the upcoming Spring and Summer of 2016. It’s fashion week time, and we are wondering what can we expect from the fashion capitals of the world. Well, Copenhagen and Stockholm have already shown their cards. The Scandinavian cities introduced structured safari and a play with layering different materials. For New York, London, Milan and Paris, the world is still waiting for what’s to come. Here are a few predictions based on the previous seasons.

Print – Floral: Despite its exuberance the floral print is a safe bet, and also something that is designers favour season after season, particularly in spring. Lately there has also been an elevation of the use of botanical prints by different applique techniques, giving a promise of something that could be explored further.

Color – black, white, red and blue: In spring fashion all the colors of the rainbow are used. However, lately there has been a preference for these four colours in particular. Aside from black and white, red and blue have lately become pillars in a Summer wardrobes for many seasons and several designers, in a nautical theme or as colour blocks, with beige being another color linked to summer.

Influences – Time Warp: For the upcoming season the influences are surely moving from early 90s towards the end of the decade, with early 2000 playing their part, while the 1960s provide a timeless point of reference. In particular, designers seem to focus on the graphic 1990s look of more vibrant colors and nostalgic prints. However, the minimalistic tendencies seem hard to let go of, so structured and clean looks may still be around for 2016.

Silhouette – Volume: Created by layering or by a voluminous garment in itself, volume is most certainly still present each season and it is a simple twist that creates drama and eccentricity in a look.

Even though certain themes often recur on the runway, given the fickle nature of fashion, we are happy to see what the novel surprises will be – so let the games begin.

Victoria Edman 
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Paris Haute Couture Week

Last week as in translucent dreams, the creations of the Parisian Haute Couture week took center stage and invoked the pinnacle of fashion, while, at the same time, functioning as a reminder of the glitz and glamour that is not always part of Prêt à porter. Here is an overview of the delicious examples of how fashion can stun and innovate.

Color – A Black and White Affair: The colors mainly used on the couture runways were black and white. Naturally, there were also other shades, such as burgundy and pink, however it was the basic black and white that set the tone, either in combination with each other, as seen at the runway of Chanel and Bouchra Jarrar, or individually as observed at Zuhair Murad.

Techniques – Ruffle a few feathers: The use of ruffles and feather-like details was a fabulous technique showcased at almost every catwalk. Teased and frayed chiffon produced the feather-like quality for some looks and the addition of fringes, like at Armani, made for a particular element in tune with the feather look. At Giambattista Valli the feather skirt made for an impact in an otherwise simplistic silhouette, while these types of details could also be seen at Givenchy. Another small part that gained popularity was the use of ruffles. In all shapes and form, ruffles were presented to add volume but also drama. Viktor & Rolf presented what could be seen as more structural ruffles and added a sophisticated eccentricity to the concept.

Silhouettes – One Way or Another: The biggest trend of the couture season seemed to be that of asymmetry. Many designers presented collections with models baring an arm or with added details to a single side of the piece, as if to shake things up and call for a second glance from the viewer. At Christian Dior, coats were adorned by a fur sleeve while the other was left bare, Versace presented dresses with an ornate side and the other left minimalistic with a unison color connecting the two. Valentino with the clear remembrance of ancient Rome – albeit with a modern touch – presented several dresses with the classical asymmetric twist.

Victoria Edman 
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Style Suggestions: Fashion Week

We are mid-way through the Fall/Winter fashion week season, so it’s important to keep your looks fresh and vibrant, even if you are feeling worse for wear. Sneakers are always a good option to look cool and stay comfortable.

Jacket: Saint Laurent, Sweater and skirt: The Row, Sneakers: Y-3 by Raf Simons, Sunglasses: Prada, Necklace: Ca & Lou

Styling by Vanessa Cocchiaro 

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Fashion Week Through the Eyes of Ondine Azoulay

“When I start thinking about fashion week I panic, hahaha! I mean, it’s fun and exciting and I look forward to it but in the same time I’m thinking ‘Oh my god, here we go again’”. Ondine Azoulay‘s reaction to the sound of “fashion week” comes spontaneous and with a big smile. “Fashion week for me is first and foremost work. It’s super exciting and I absolutely love it but it’s so easy to ‘glamify’ it and forget that it’s also exhausting. It’s not only shows – it’s meetings, presentations, more shows, events, dinners, parties – well, ok, wait, the parties and dinners are fun! – but it’s all crammed into one small week per city. It’s a lot to take in!”

Ondine Azoulay was born and raised in Los Angeles but moved to Paris over ten years ago to study fashion design. Since then, Ondine has worked as fashion and beauty editor and freelance styling contributor to some of the largest publications and brands of today, as well as working as a stylist alongside major photographers. She’s what you could call an industry insider. Today fashion week starts for real, but last night The Blogazine got the chance to sit down with Ondine to have a chat about fashion week from her point of view.

“Normally I travel all month. I do New York and the fashion weeks in Europe and normally I also style shows in NYC and London. But this year I’m only doing Paris. It’s my favourite week, always.” We speak about the shows, the front row, who’s in and who’s out and how the buzz around fashion week keeps on increasing, looking back only a few years. “I mean, they crowd so much people into the venues – it’s insane! It’s so hot you think you’re going to faint at times! I can’t believe that everyone who’s in there really needs to be there. Maybe I’ll stay in, sit down and watch a couple of the shows from the comfort of my sofa – I mean, everything is online!” Ondine thinks for a second. “I also think some designers should do presentations instead. Not everything needs to be put into a show!”

The conversation about how fashion week has become absolutely frenetic continues, and soon switches over to a discussion about what to wear. “I usually don’t plan my outfits – whatever I feel like in the morning is what I’m going to put on. I feel like I keep on repeating it, but fashion week is madness! Everybody is doing the latest trends and only wear clothes from the season, and borrow things from press offices. I feel it’s just too hard to “compete” with all that so I’m trying not to think about it and just do my own thing. I wear a lot of vintage and maybe I add a pair of shoes of the season but besides that, you know – I stick to my wardrobe.”

And what about the runway? Which show is the highpoint? “This is probably going to be the answer of every fashion editor or stylist but I’m absolutely obsessed with Céline, of course. I just think that Phoebe Philo can’t do wrong! That’s the show I look forward to the most. Then we have Chloé, Valentino, Miu Miu, Louis Vuitton and so on, and in London it’s always cool to see all the new designers. I haven’t really thought about my expectations for S/S 14. To be honest, I’m just back from my annual holiday month, totally off-fashion. And then I’ve been working every day since I came back, I’m still so into this season’s collections! Let’s just say that hopefully we’re going to see something surprising!”

Long days, meetings and appointments – yes, fashion week is a moment of work but it’s also the time when you get to meet up with friends that you don’t see all the times. It’s an occasion to get out, go places, do things. “I love that during fashion week all the meetings are in fancy hotels. Sometimes I look at myself from the outside thinking ‘who is this person?’ Fashion week is so different from my regular life but I love that I get to spend my days at the Ritz!”

It’s time to say goodbye and let Ondine wind down, preparing for the hectic period that approaches. “I love this time but it’s a whole mix of emotions: fun, interesting, annoying, exciting. I have so much to do that my feelings about it are different every day! Every year during the fashion weeks I take a full day off. I need my little break in the middle to keep my sanity!”

Interview by Lisa Olsson Hjerpe – Swamibu, Mi Chiel 
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Fashion Week Frenzy

New York, London, Milan, Paris – even though the smaller fashion cities are already feeding us the trends, talents and news of Spring/Summer 2014, the (fashion) world is anticipating the grand 4. New York with its many ‘low-key’ contemporary brands, London continuing to be the new must-go-to melting pot and Milan and Paris representing the classic, lavish European fashion. In a couple of days, the crowd will be setting foot in New York City and the fashion frenzy can begin.

New York.
From Maki Oh to Y-3 to Diane von Furstenberg, Donna Karan, Ralph Lauren and Calvin Klein – New York is the mix of American classics, international guests and upcoming designers. From the city where everything is possible, the expectations lie on contemporary freshness, well-designed, wearable fashion and maybe something bold.

The London scene is no longer questionable. Over the past seasons the city has claimed its position on the fashion map and anyone who may have doubted the Brits, has been eating up the dubious words. The schedule, listing Mary Katrantzou, Peter Pilotto, Christopher Kane, J.W. Anderson, House of Holland, Nasir Mazha, Erdem et cetera, will for sure entertain the international press. And if nothing else, we can always be sure to look forward to the Londoners’ grand show by Burberry Prorsum.

We have to love our hometown. Craftsmanship, heritage, world famous designers and a big dose of vanity and gaud. Fendi, Gucci, Prada, Versace, Armani, Missoni, Marni, Trussardi, Ferragamo and the list continues. Milan is the city of classic luxury, Italian pride and great espressos. Aside of high heels and inconvenient clothes in all their glory, Milan is also the city where at least a part of the crowd will arrive with their favourite means of transportation – the bike.

We all know it. Paris is the highlight of the month, la crème de la crème of fashion weeks. By the time we reach Paris, it doesn’t really matter that we’re tired from three weeks of traveling, working, walking, talking, partying. The parties in Paris are the best, the Louvre is the Louvre and Karl Lagerfeld still works at Chanel. It’s Paris as we know it, and we’ll know it will be good.

As much as the February shows excite, nothing compares to the optimism of September. Maybe it’s the fact that everyone’s just back from their holidays, tanned and rested, ready to put their teeth into new projects, or maybe it’s the optimism of the Spring collection colours being carried down the runway. For whatever the reason, September is no longer around the corner – it’s here.

Lisa Olsson Hjerpe 
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The Pillars of FW

The Pillars of FW

For many they are an unparalleled economic opportunity, for others just a cliché replaceable with different marketing and communications tools. During those days the drivers whizzing running through the streets in search of the client’s most generous tip. Bars, restaurants and bistros flock to the same rate as the prices for their à la carte menus soar. On the scene, fashion weeks, the most discussed: Paris, Milan, London, New York and the newcomer Berlin.

Every nation is rooting for its own. Because, apart from the fun theater which is celebrated every hour in front of the entrance of the shows, this mechanism called Fashion Industry translates on paper in billions of dollars, thousands of jobs and a good amount of social implications.

This anxiety often ends up devaluing the real pregnant strength of each. It would be more conscious to take note of what every Fashion Week has good in its DNA. In London we celebrate the feast of Underground. The youth subcultures, the fresher, lively and less affected by the global logics, go up on the catwalk. In Milan it comes to expertise, craftsmanship, excellence of the hand-made, that hallmark all people show reverence; Made in Italy. In Paris slips off creativity. Everything you claim to be above, much closer to dreams and desire. In New York you decide the season’s trends, what you sell, what consumers want and what the market will give them. Cultural inspirations coming from North and miscellaneous agitations that include the british, street, punk and gothic style join together in Berlin, the fashion week that we have just learned to follow, that we foresee to be the next big thing. The deutsche city of contradictions has a little more than for a couple of years stood in front of World Fashion System face.

It’s almost impossible for one of the five face the game for all, because the beauty and the interest of press and buyers from all over the world lies in the diversity that characterizes each fashion week.

By the way, being sharp, you could do just a note to London and Milan Fashion Weeks, which often become a shapeless conglomeration of shows and presentations concentrated in a few days, to meet the wishes of foreign operators, who do not like being out of the country for too long. Well done instead for Paris and New York that, through a clever interplay of corporation, always manage to put big names at the beginning and in the end of the event, “compelling” gracefully professionals to stay in town for every day of the shows. This mechanism allows the city to take a breath, operators to see with no hurry everything that is proposed to them, and tourism organizators and servicers to have a large catchment area delayed with several days.

Strengths and weaknesses aside, we like to think that the reason that still drives hundreds and hundreds of people to move from one end of the planet to see “only” clothes, is not the mere and coveted money, but also other factors. Creativity, expression of oneself, research, delight for the eyes? Who knows. Perhaps, in times like these, people have a desperate desire to dream. Or rather, what they want is “the illusion of dream you can dream again”. So that’s okay.

Antonio Moscogiuri Dinoi

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Pre-Fall, Pre-Fashion Week

Pre-Fall, Pre-Fashion Week

Within a week, and continuously for the rest of the following month, the Internet will explode with street shots of people dressed up to their teeth (even though looking just casually well-dressed), hashtags with the two little letters F & W in combination with a city initial, and for the people behind it: a month of travelling. It is once again time for #fashionweek.

Like for any good movie, there’s an intriguing trailer to watch up until the opening night. In fashion words that would be the pre-fall collections: the ‘trailer’ filling up the space between the fashion weeks as much as between the seasons. The women’s pre-fall 2013 collections have showed a mash-up of upcoming trends.

The Pantone key colour of 2013, emerald, has made an appearance, just like rich shades of red: burgundy, oxblood and saturated red wine tones in rich wools and shiny-coated fabrics. The pre-season coats are big, boxy and over-sized while the quilting and padding from the continuous biker trend has been seen to move over to dresses, skirts and sweatshirts. On the illustrative side the presentations have shown geometric patterns, smudged graphics and textured prints as well as a softer side of folkloric florals in heavy brocades.

More than colours, shapes and knee-length shorts and skirts we have seen references from other eras. Clare Weight Keller at Chloé mixed French elegance with English heritage, while Acne found inspiration in the famous Swedish artist and playwright August Strindberg, and Max Mara looked to David Bowie’s Hunky Dory album.

The pre-fall collections might not be a true mirror of what we will see on the runway but nonetheless, they’ve intrigued us to see more.

Lisa Olsson Hjerpe, trends by Tamsin Cook – Image courtesy of Acne, Chloé & Burberry Prorsum

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Global Fashion Show Trend Overview – Summer 13

Global Fashion Show Trend Overview – Summer 13

Here at The Blogazine, we’ve been following the SS13 runway shows from the fashion capitals; New York to London to Milan and rounding off in joli Paris. Each city is unique and creates its own buzz and attitude. We’ve been analyzing closely the key trends and have selected some of our favorites.


Cut outs are popular this season with designers creating slick laser cut geometric shapes, from rounded geometric shapes at Rue du Mail to harlequin diamonds at Balmain or more nature inspired leafy cut outs at Sass & Bide on leather and crisp cottons. Layered or simply worn against the skin, it seems to be the next move on in a more bold form of the lace hype.


Ruffles came cascading down the runways in many shapes and forms. From romantic flounces in chiffon at Chloe and Dries Van Noten to more structured and sculptured voluminous shapes at Balenciaga which created a more dramatic “Flamenco” style.


There was a definite shift towards a futuristic space-like trend for some designers. Incorporating metallic and high-tech fabrics in Star Trek-like silhouettes, colour-blocking taking on a 90s clubwear look from London and Tokyo at the time from Junya Watanabe. You could also spot alien like make-up, all of which created a back to the future zoom.

We mentioned orange being hot in our NY fashion week report. Across the globe orange has still been standing out as a key bright for next summer. From acidic orange to peach, pumpkin and rusty orange, all possible shades are creating a vibrant positive note to the season.


The humble sweatshirt is still looking strong for next season. Designers interpret the item into sheer structured silhouettes at Stella McCartney to more Sloppy-Joe style at Ashish or embellished and decorated at Holly Fulton. This versatile item can be transformed into any look.


Black and white jailbird stripes could not go un-noticed this season. It was a must-have amongst many hitlist designers. Translated into many forms from 60s mini dresses at Marc Jacobs, 80s paper-bag waisted trousers at Balmain, square boxy shape suits at Acne and Devastee to more feminine dresses and long flowing pleated skirts at Kors and Victor & Rolf.


Sportswear continues to be a big influence to many designers. Designers have created molded volume shapes using functional details like zippers and draw-strings and combining sporty fabrics such as airtex mesh and light weight performance nylons. In some cases a more luxurious attitude was mixed in using sequins in sporty shapes combined with sweatpants giving a 90s feel to the silhouettes.


And last but not least, we couldn’t resist picking out Jean Paul Gaultier’s show, with this theatrical tribute to some very recognizable 80s music icons. We’ll leave you to guess who’s who!

Tamsin Cook

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Emerging Trends from the Big Apple; NY Fashion Week

Emerging Trends from the Big Apple; NY FW

Winter is nearing, but for all of those involved in the fashion industry, next summer is hot on the agenda. It’s the time for designers, whether it is well established fashion houses or new creative talent, to show their Spring/Summer 2013 collections on the runways.
 Buyers, designers, fashion editors and bloggers are eager to spot the latest trends and hottest looks. 
Here at The Blogazine, we’ve been following the NY fashion shows and have analyzed some key emerging trends.

Think mixed florals and patterns from head to toe, bold black and white statements, 60’s, 80’s and 90’s grunge make a clear comeback. Military and utility are still strong influences and for sure, the future is still very orange!


As many of us are in a constant digital environment, the Proenza Schouler collection zoomed in on the world wide web, blurring pixelated images from Google Earth to create random flashes of our technological universe.

Almost Angelic, Maison Martin Margiela’s diffusion line MM6 revealed a flowing relaxed basic collection. Sporty influences were apparent and unexpected details created the signature MM6 avant-garde approach.

60’s silhouettes are a predominant look among many designers. Marc Jacobs takes a look back to the Mod scene and NY Factory hip hang out. Where as Michael Kors brings a 60s mod look with a nautical twist, bold primary colours in graphic stripes look fresh and chic.

Black and white came in many forms, from the 60’s but in new dimensions at Marc Jacobs, whilst at Alexander Wang, cut out and deconstruction in crisp white fabrics and leather teamed with American sportswear & baseball uniforms created a sharp urban look. Jeremy Laing presented a slick monochrome line in sporty crisp decontructed silhouettes.

Remember the days of bopping about to Culture Club and Bananarama? This era was played homage to by Alexandre Herchcovitch, capturing Boy George’s signature style. Marc by Marc Jacobs‘ line was a fun lean on 80s club wear, rag-tied heads, clashing checks and stripes and paper-bag waisted trousers. He Was Really Sayin’ Somethin’.

Tamsin Cook

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