The catwalk, the A-list front row, the frenzy backstage: this is what comes to mind when someone says “fashion show.” But alternative ways to present a collection are becoming increasingly common. These two unorthodox shows stood out from the rest:
Commonwealth Utilities Menswear Collection
A barbershop, a quintessentially masculine institution from the days of yore, was an apt place to stage the Commonwealth Utilities S/S 2010 show. While the label’s past two collections have bordered on too sexy for some tastes, designer Anthony Keegan toned things down by presenting an array of suits and sportswear that, just like a barbershop, were classic. The extremely well-tailored shorts and seersucker suits called to mind a Brooks Brothers aesthetic for the modern man, while the pairing of sweatpants with formal blazers (a trend that has popped up in a number of menswear shows this season) broke the rules in an intriguing way. What really made the show stand out, though, was the work of Richard Christiansen, the brand’s marketing director and organizer of the presentation. A show where models spring up from barber’s chairs and throw off their capes to reveal impeccably designed outfits is truly unforgettable, and it’s also what transformed Keegan’s work from a line of clothing into a clever work of art. Like a good haircut, classic wardrobe items will always make those who wear them feel confident.
Marc Bouwer Womenswear Collection
Accessibility has always been one of Fashion Week’s problems: only a limited few can experience the runway. Marc Bouwer has decided to change that. Bouwer, the pioneering mind behind the virtual fashion show, released his Spring/Summer 2010 line to the world at 9 a.m. yesterday on his website. At the show’s shooting, Bouwer explained the ideas behind his move online: “How can we spend this money to get our message across, you know, but still have somewhat of a traditional fashion show? And I thought, well let’s use the internet. That way everyone can have a front row seat, and instead of showing to 200 people we can show to the entire world.” In an inspired collection featuring 46 looks, and designed entirely for his new muse, model and heiress Lydia Hearst, Bouwer is working to revive shoulder pads and sparkles. His collection also features many of the classic flowing gowns that make Bouwer a celebrity favorite. Further demonstrating his unique sensibility, Bouwer chose to go with red as his centerpiece color rather than traditional pastel spring hues. When asked to describe his most recent line he declared it “strong, graphic, bold, colorful and fun to wear.” Whether other designers will follow Bouwer’s lead remains to be seen, but with the fashion world in economic turmoil designers are finding more creative ways to spend less and reach a larger audience: a trend originating in Bouwer’s virtual vision.