Alexander McQueen brings once-exclusive show online
Designer's fashion show to be streamed live today on the InternetPublished On Tue Oct 06 2009
PARIS–Fire up the Internet, Martha. The Alexander McQueen show starts at 8:15.
That's right. The always provocative McQueen fashion show, perhaps the most coveted invitation issued to select media and buyers during Paris Fashion Week, will be streamed live on the Internet at 8:15 p.m. on Tuesday, Paris time. (That's 2:15 p.m. in Toronto.)
The live feed will allow the world an immediate glimpse into the often spectacular shows mounted each season by the rebellious British designer. You'll see his vision for spring 2010, at www.alexander mcqueen.com, at the same time as the insider elite of the fashion industry, powerful department store buyers and international editors-in-chief.
"I want to break new ground in the way the public sees and understands fashion," McQueen told Women's Wear Daily, fashion's top trade journal. "I want to generate something for a wider audience," he added, acknowledging he is embracing new media such as Twitter with great passion. Weary of seeing snippets of his shows on YouTube, he joked, "Really, what I'm aiming for is world domination."
Acknowledging his die-hard fans will likely pre-order from the show on sites such as www.Net-a-porter. com, www.Yoox.com and www.Asos.com, McQueen said in the future he might create capsule collections so the public can buy them immediately after the show.
As fashion has become increasingly seasonless, consumers are willing to buy clothes not necessarily tied to winter or summer collections. The repercussions for the status quo are profound and bring into question the ritual of the twice yearly rounds of ready-to-wear shows.
"There is no way back for me now," McQueen told WWD. "I am going to take you on journeys you've never dreamed were possible."
Tuesday's journey, live from the Palais Omnisport at 8 Boulevard de Bercy in Paris, will feature the clamour of celebrity arrivals, the bullish bodyguards and the frenzied paparazzi struggling for the money shot. You'll hear the music and witness each model work the runway in never-before-seen fashions. You'll see what they're wearing and decide for yourself if McQueen is a genius or a madman.
In doing so, yet another chip is hammered from the air of exclusivity that has always defined fashion. Some insiders – the retailer or fashion editor – worry the move to live video will diminish their roles as arbiters of style, telling women what they should wear next season.
Live streaming has been employed by Burberry, Michael Kors and Isaac Mizrahi. But McQueen promises a new take on fashion as entertainment.
This day was coming: Last year, Dutch conceptualist designers Viktor & Rolf created a video runway presentation in advance of Fashion Week and invited the world to watch their video online at show time.
Last week, Dolce & Gabbana got things started with a live stream of their spring show including all the drama involved in backstage preparation, the celebrities, runway coverage and the final bow. They also invited a handful of bloggers, including Toronto's Tommy Ton, to sit in the front row with laptops and to comment live from the best seats in the house.
Websites such as www.Style.com have been complicit in the democratization of fashion. The site posts images of fashion shows almost immediately after each show – but they are static and do little to convey the show's atmosphere.
Tuesday's McQueen show could be compared to the difference between listening to a football game on the radio and watching it on television. On TV, you see the plays yourself and you decide if the referee's blind.
The idea has caught on.
Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. Paris time. (That's 8:30 a.m. in Toronto) the luxury brand Louis Vuitton will broadcast its show live exclusively on the Louis Vuitton Facebook page. It will be posted for 24 hours and viewers will be able to comment through their Facebook status.
McQueen invites viewers viewers are invited to follow him on Twitter at McQueenworld.
There is one glitch. Many of McQueen's and Vuitton's clients will want to purchase the items they see on the runway. But, according to the current system, these clothes, shoes and bags will not be in stores for months.
Designers may have to start deliver the goods much faster, says Nicole Fischelis, fashion director for Macy's 800 department stores in the U.S.
Compressing the six-month lag between show time and delivery might go a long way to solving the problem of knock-offs. Fast fashion outlets such as H&M and Zara can now get designer copies into their stores faster than the designer can get the real thing to market .
"This is a brilliant idea for McQueen," Fischelis adds. "It's just dealing with reality ... The news here is in the way fashion is being presented. My hat is off to him."