BoF’s guide to fashion immediacy tracks new operating models and approaches, brand by brand.
Alexander Wang Folds Resort into Spring/Summer 2017 Show (25 May 2016)
Alexander Wang’s Spring/Summer 2017 runway show in September will include items from the brand’s Resort 2017 collection, two months before the Resort collection arrives in stores in early November. The Resort collection will continue to be shown to buyers and press at the usual time in June, but images of the full collection will not be released until it goes on sale.
“For several seasons now, we have released images of our T by Alexander Wang and Men’s collections only at the time of their delivery in store,” the designer said in a statement. “We decided to pursue a similar strategy with our ready-to-wear pre-collections; we have found that this shortened timeline between seeing the collection and it being available in stores creates a sense of immediacy and generates excitement at the retail level.”
Public School to Show on Pre-Collection Calendar (11 April 2016)
Public School is aligning its runway shows with the pre-collection calendar, and combining its men’s and women’s collections into two shows per year, in December and June. The collections will be called Collection 1 (Pre-Spring and Spring) and Collection 2 (Pre-Fall and Autumn/Winter). The brand’s first show in this new format will take place in June. During fashion weeks in February and September, Public School will focus on “consumer-facing activity.”
Dao-Yi Chow, who, alongside Maxwell Osborne, is co-creative director and co-founder of Public School, said the move would “allow us to really develop our ideas cohesively throughout the year and subsequently slow the entire process down.” He continued, “We can actually enjoy our collections as opposed to being tied to the calendar.”
“When we launched women’s it was always the extension of the men’s collections,” added Osborne. “We feel the similar design approach made more of an impact when we showed men’s and women’s at the same time.”
According to Anthony Landereau, president of Public School, “the objective is of course to always improve our performance and have the best sell-through, getting the goods early in the stores.”
Gucci to Combine Women’s and Men’s Shows (5 April 2016)
Gucci plans to integrate its women’s and men’s fashion shows. Beginning in 2017, creative director Alessandro Michele will present one unified collection on the runway each season. The first integrated show will be staged at Gucci’s new Milan headquarters. The brand will not be embracing a direct-to-consumer show strategy — often dubbed “see now, buy now” — and, instead, continue to show its collections months before they go on sale in stores.
“It seems only natural to me to present my men’s and women’s collections together. It’s the way I see the world today,” said Alessandro Michele in a statement. “It will not necessarily be an easy path and will certainly present some challenges, but I believe it will give me the chance to move towards a different kind of approach to my story telling.”
“Alessandro Michele has in fact always presented his men’s and women’s collections together, so this is a very natural progression,” added Gucci president and CEO Marco Bizzarri. “Moving to one show each season will significantly help to simplify many aspects of our business. Maintaining two separate, disconnected calendars has been a result of tradition rather than practicality.”
Gucci will work closely with Italy’s Camera Nazionale della Moda on “reinforcing the Italian fashion system” to maintain the “see now, buy later” system, continued Bizzarri, who made the initial announcement of the move at the 2016 New York Times International Luxury Conference in Versailles.
Courrèges Makes a Third of Its Runway Collection Immediately Available (3 March 2016)
One third of the items in Courrèges Autumn/Winter 2016 collection, unveiled this week in Paris, were made available to buy in the brand’s flagship in Paris and on its website immediately after the runway show. In their show notes, artistic directors Arnaud Vaillant and Sébastien Meyer called the move “a common sense decision,” adding, “We aren’t talking about ready to wear, but ready to live.”
Alexander Wang Autumn/Winter 2016 Bags Go on Sale (25 Feb 2016)
A capsule of handbags from Alexander Wang’s Autumn/Winter 2016 collection is now on sale in the brand’s London flagship, just weeks after the collection was presented on the runway at New York Fashion Week. Two dresses from the collection are also on display and available for pre-order in-store.
Italian Chamber Says No to Immediacy (25 Feb 2016)
According to Carlo Capasa, president of Italy’s fashion chamber, “The difference between creating a desire and satisfying a need is the difference between slow fashion and fast fashion.”
Speaking to the Associated Press during Milan Fashion Week, Capasa said the incubation period between the presentation of a designer’s collection and its arrival in stores is necessary “for people to understand the message. Because if a creator is a true creative, he is proposing something that doesn’t really exist.”
“New York has always been the land of branding and marketing. We and France, we are more the area of creativity and manufacturing,” Boselli said. “I think the logic is different. They follow their interest, we follow ours.”
Prada Makes Bags Available to Buy After Runway Show (25 Feb 2016)
Prada has announced that two bags from its Autumn/Winter 2016 will be available to buy in select stores and online shortly after the brand’s runway show at Milan Fashion Week today — marking a compromise between the methods of brands like Burberry, which will make its whole collection available immediately after runway events, and brands like Chanel and Dior, which have pledged to stick to the current runway calendar.
The Pionniere and Cahier bags will be available for purchase at key Prada stores in Milan, Paris and London and New York stores on Friday 26 February, and will arrive in its New York store in early March.
French Fédération Rejects Calendar Overhaul (25 Feb 2016)
The board of the Fédération Française de la Couture du Prêt-à-Porter des Couturiers et des Créateurs de Mode has unanimously decided to maintain its current calendar, in which fashion shows take place months before the collections hit the shop floor.
The decision was made by a task force (comprising Sidney Toledano, chief executive officer of Dior, and Bruno Pavlovsky, Chanel’s president of fashion, amongst others), which the federation appointed to review its options, after the CFDA hired Boston Consulting Group to do the same for New York Fashion Week.
“We have a common position on this issue,” federation president Ralph Toledano told WWD. “As far as we are concerned, the present system is still valid.” Toledano added that fashion businesses in France are “extremely healthy” and “our clientele is educated and informed on how the system works.”
Calendar Shake-Up ‘Negates the Dream’ of Luxury, Says Pinault (21 Feb 2016)
Making collections available to buy immediately after runway shows “negates the dream” of luxury, according to Francois-Henri Pinault, chief executive officer of Kering.
Pinault told Bloomberg that making consumers wait up to six months to buy a collection “creates desire,” but conceded that, “There are some brands for which a runway show is a communications event.” Pinault’s comments came Friday, after Kering-owned Gucci recorded its strongest revenue growth in three years.
Bergdorf Goodman Hosts Pre-Order Events, Days After Runway Shows (17 Feb 2016)
New York department store Bergdorf Goodman will launch a series of “Right from the Runway” in-store events, where customers will be able to pre-order Autumn/Winter 2016 collections by designers including Altuzarra, Jason Wu and Michael Kors, days after their presentations at New York Fashion Week. Some designers — including Prabal Gurung, Brandon Maxwell and Laura Kim and Fernando Garcia of Monse — will present their collections in person.
“Everyone’s talking about immediate gratification — so we’ve invited several of our designers to come to Bergdorf Goodman in the days immediately after the shows and let our customers touch and feel the collection and make their selections for the season ahead,” said Joshua Schulman, president of Bergdorf Goodman and Neiman Marcus Group International.
Michael Kors Adds Shoppable Capsule Collection to Runway Show (15 Feb 2016)
Michael Kors’ Autumn/Winter 2016 runway show on 17 February will include a capsule collection that will go on sale immediately after the event, via the American designer’s e-commerce store and its Collection store on Madison Avenue, which will feature the eight-piece line-up in its windows that afternoon.
The capsule, which the New York-based designer terms “Ready-to-Wear, Ready to Go,” will include apparel, shoes and handbags. “Our customer doesn’t think in terms of seasons, she just thinks about what works for her life and what she’s in love with,” the designer said in a statement. “I thought it would be a great idea to give her the opportunity to sprinkle some key items from the runway into her current wardrobe.”
Paco Rabanne Illustrates In-Season Strategy With Patrick Demarchelier-Shot Campaign (12 Feb 2016)
Puig-owned Paco Rabanne has enlisted Patrick Demarchelier, one of the world’s most famous photographers, to capture four looks from its Autumn/Winter 2016 collection, which will be instantly available to buy after the brand’s Paris Fashion Week show on 3 March. Demarchelier’s campaign images will be released the day before the runway show via outdoor, digital and print advertisements. “The idea is to make it real for the customer, not just something that you see through the eyes of a magazine or some editor,” said Anouck Duranteau-Loeper, chief executive officer of fashion at Paco Rabanne, who has helped bring the brand to 100 doors over the past two years. “It’s a new way to talk to the market.”
After the show, the four looks by artistic director Julien Dossena will be immediately available to purchase online and in Paco Rabanne’s boutique on Paris’s Rue Cambon, which opened in January. The looks will also be available in the US at Barneys New York just weeks after the show. “It took a lot of energy and time,” Duranteau-Loeper said of the project. Barneys buyers, for instance, placed preliminary orders before seeing prices and sketches of the four looks. “But as we are very small, we are also quite agile.”
Tommy Hilfiger Embraces Direct-to-Consumer Shows (12 Feb 2016)
Starting in September 2016, Tommy Hilfiger will stage fashion shows targeting consumers, with full collections instantly available for sale after the show. That month, the brand will debut its TommyXGigi capsule collection, created in collaboration with model Gigi Hadid, in a runway event that will air on a “global multi-media broadcast network.” Immediately after the event, the collection will be available to buy via the company’s retail stores and e-commerce, as well as its wholesale partners.
“For over 15 years we’ve been creating a fusion between entertainment and fashion,” the designer said. “This gives us the perfect platform to expand upon that.” The September show will also feature select items from Tommy Hilfiger’s Autumn/Winter 2016 collection, which will be unveiled to press and buyers on Monday 15 February as part of the traditional NYFW calendar.
But the move to align runway and retail will take full effect in February 2017, when the brand’s Spring/Summer 2017 collection will be revealed and made immediately available to purchase across its more-than-20,000 points of sale and 1,500 stores. This will not alter the buying cycle: the Spring/Summer 2017 collection will be shown privately to buyers and editors in September 2016.
In coming seasons, the PVH Corp-owned American fashion brand also plans to embrace “seasonless” collections and eventually combine its menswear and womenswear into one show.
Cédric Charlier to Show Two Collections in January and June (11 Feb 2016)
Belgian designer Cédric Charlier, who launched his namesake label in 2012 after stints at Lanvin and Cacharel, will show two collections per year, in June and January, instead of the usual four. This June, Charlier will present his Pre-Spring 2017 and Spring/Summer 2017 collections together, at a single runway show in New York. After New York, the collections will be shown to additional retailers and editors in Milan and Paris. “We’re overconsuming clothes. It’s not good for creativity,” Charlier told BoF. “I prefer to focus on one collection and to propose one message each season.”
“The first thing was the creativity, but the second thing was the buyers,” he added. “They are more than ready.” The designer is proposing three deliveries of the two collections, to ensure near-continual newness on the sales floor. The June 2016 collection will begin arriving in stores in mid-November 2016, with a final delivery in mid-February 2017. The January 2017 collection drops will begin in mid-June and end in mid-September 2017. “With three deliveries, I can offer different product for the right moment,” said Charlier, who plans to tailor deliveries to be more seasonally appropriate.
Proenza Schouler Launches Early Edition (11 Feb 2016)
For Pre-Fall 2016, Proenza Schouler designers Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez embargoed images of their collection until May, when it arrives in stores. For Autumn/Winter 2016, a more ambitious plan is underway. A selection of eight looks, comprising ten items of clothing and four bags, will be available for immediate purchase at 10am on Thursday 18 February, hours after the designers’ runway show on 17 February.
The range, named Proenza Schouler Early Edition, will be shoppable at the brand’s brick-and-mortar store in downtown Manhattan. (Clients in the uptown location will be able to request items, since the two stores share inventory.) Key clients will also have the opportunity to pre-order additional pieces from the collection at an exclusive in-store event, the day after the show. The four new iterations of its “Hava” bag will also be available to purchase on Proenza Schouler’s e-commerce site.
“The customer is watching these runway shows. By the time it ships six months later, it’s kind of old news to them,” McCollough told BoF. “We wanted to shorten that time frame, make some pieces and see how they would react. We don’t want to make any rash decisions or a huge change just yet. It’s an experiment.”
Indeed, manufacturing wares to coincide with the runway date was no small undertaking, even though they were produced in limited quantities and will be sold through the brand’s direct retail channels only. “Four months before the show, we had the collection drawn,” Hernandez explained. Looks that the designers “felt confident about” went into production “months ago,” he added.
It’s a quiet but potentially significant step for Proenza Schouler. Last June, Castanea Partners, a Boston-based private equity firm, bought a minority stake in the brand. Castanea’s Ron Frasch, former president and chief merchandiser at Saks Fifth Avenue, also joined the company on an interim basis as chief executive officer.
“We’ll see how this performs and take it from there,” said McCollough. “If it’s sold out a week after the show, then we’ll definitely push it further.”
Wes Gordon Hosts Instagram-Powered Trunk Show (11 Feb 2016)
New York-based designer Wes Gordon, whose business relies heavily on in-person trunk shows, will eschew the traditional runway format and instead release his Autumn/Winter 2016 collection on Instagram via a series of short videos at 10am EST on 12 February, Gordon’s scheduled slot in the New York Fashion Week calendar.
Each moving image, styled by Julia Von Boehm and directed by Kate Irlin, will click through to Moda Operandi’s Instagram page, where users will be prompted to pre-order items online via the e-commerce site. It’s a short-term solution for a smaller company that might not be able to speed up its production schedules the way a more vertically-integrated brand can.
“This format is an open door, an invitation to the world,” Gordon told BoF. “It’s not a replacement for seeing the garments in person but it is an opportunity to experience the collection in a poetic and hopefully easy way. It can be difficult to create a world in six minutes and four white walls.”
Paul Smith Streamlines Collections (8 Feb 2016)
British designer Paul Smith will merge his design teams and collapse his many diffusion lines into two collections — Paul Smith, and the more affordable PS by Paul Smith — comprising both men’s and womenswear, with four drops a year.
Eventually, the production timeline for men’s and women’s will run in parallel, although it will take some time to adjust, as menswear sells in January and June and womenswear in February/March and September. Paul Smith will continue to show menswear in Paris and womenswear in London, plus a presentation at London Collections: Men.
“I think the world has gone mad,” Smith told BoF. “There’s this absolute horrendous disease of greed and over-expansion and unnecessary, massive over-supply of product.” The restructure will cost close to £1 million and reduce the number of products by the brand by 5 to 10 percent each year for the next two years.
Vetements’ Plan to Disrupt the Fashion System (5 Feb 2016)
Vetements, the Paris-based design collective led by Demna Gvasalia, will roll out a new operating model later this year, designed to streamline the production cycle and take advantage of pre-collection timing.
Going forward, Vetements will show its two annual collections during the pre-collection schedule in June and January, rather than during the main fashion seasons. The move will solve problems in the production cycle, extend the length of time products are in stores, and take advantage of the fact that stores allocate a bigger budget to pre-collections than main collections.
“The whole industry runs so fast because we need to deliver something new to the store every two weeks so the client isn’t bored,” Gvasalia told BoF. “They don’t want to wait for six months, so we have the pre-collection, the pre-pre-collection, and the main collection, which nobody is buying, so it all just ends up on a sales rack.”
Tom Ford Shifts Show to Match Retail Cycle (5 Feb 2016)
Tom Ford will present his Autumn/Winter 2016 menswear and womenswear collections in September, rather than on 18 February during New York Fashion Week, as had originally been scheduled. The collections will be available to buy online and in-store on the day of the presentation, closing the gap between runway and retail.
“In a world that has become increasingly immediate, the current way of showing a collection four months before it is available to consumers is an antiquated idea and one that could no longer makes sense,” Ford said in a statement. “We have been living with a fashion calendar and system that is from another era.”
Burberry Aligns Runway and Retail Calendar (5 Feb 2016)
Starting in September, Burberry will combine its men’s and women’s offerings into one unified collection, to be shown twice a year at runway events during London Fashion Week. (The brand will no longer stage two annual menswear shows at London Collections: Men, but will retain a presence at the event.)
Immediately after the shows, the full collection will be available to buy both online and in-store, supported by digital and print advertising campaigns, which will launch as soon as the show ends. The new collections will be “seasonless” and branded “February” and “September” rather than Spring/Summer and Autumn/Winter.
“I hope that what we’ll be able to do is create a moment that feels relevant when the customer actually sees it, rather than telling him or her they’ve got to wait until five or six months after we’ve excited them,” Burberry’s chief executive and chief creative officer Christopher Bailey told BoF.
Editor’s Note: This article was revised on 1 March, 2015. An earlier version of this article misstated that Prada’s Pionniere and Cahier bags would be available online after the brand’s runway show. The bags were made available in Prada’s key stores in Paris, London, Milan and New York only.