It may seem like merely a lot of glitz and glamour to some people, but fashion shows are much more than that. They are promotional opportunities, a chance for anyone who is in the industry to reach others that are already involved or want to be. It’s a time for models and designers to strut their stuff, and be noticed. Fashion shows have been around for some time but are just now hitting their stride. Following is a brief history of fashion shows.
(Burberry Fashion Show London 2012)
The fashion industry revolves around the biggest names and places. The biggest shows take place in New York, Paris, and London, so naturally that’s where people who want to be noticed congregate. The chance to be photographed, and appear in popular periodicals, is what draws designers, models, and celebrities to these shows. To be seen in one of the latest creations not only boosts the popularity of the person wearing it, but the designer as well. The history of these huge fashion shows is unclear, as no extensive history has ever been written. However there is some evidence that the first shows, called ‘fashion parades’ took place sometime in the mid-1800s in a Paris couture salon.
Coming to America
As with many things European, what was popular in the ‘Old World’ found its way to America. According to some sources, the first ever fashion show in the United States took place in New York City, in 1903. The events soon became popular, because those within the fashion industry recognized it as a good way to promote their product. Most of the early shows took place in individual stores, which raised the level of competition in the fashion industry. In time many department stores began holding their own fashion shows. In order to attract female customers, they imported designs from European sources.
Changes Developed During WWII
During World War II, while the fate of nations was being decided, the fashion industry made some changes of its own. Because the whole of Europe was torn asunder by the war, the French influence was floundering. A well-known fashion publicist of the time, Eleanor Lambert, saw an opportunity for America to be a recognized leader in the fashion industry and organized ‘Press Week.’ It was a rousing success, and helped shift the focus of the world’s fashion sense to America.
Press Week Continued
The concept of Press Week evolved over the years as more and more American designers were recognized for their work. Magazines that were important to the fashion industry, such as Vogue Harper’s Bazaar, began to feature more work by American designers. What was significant, and ultimately more important, was the fact that they were naming names. The designers, who were frequently not previously mentioned on the labels they designed because they worked for large department stores, garnered much more respect throughout the country. They were credited with modernizing and streamlining their products, and with the notion that their designs were very flattering to the American public. This concept continued into the late 1950s until designers like Bill Blass and Oscar de la Renta became household names.
The 60s and 70s - Fashion Show Heydays
The evolution of the fashion show took another turn in the 1960s and continued into the 1970s. Individual fashion designers took matters into their own hands in order to promote themselves and their products. The shows became even glitzier and more glamorous. They also became somewhat hazardous because each designer made up their own rules as they went along. The fashion shows were frequently held in small venues, which quickly became overcrowded.
A Changing Trend
This individual-designer-fashion-show trend continued throughout the 1980s, with minor changes. In the early 1990s, fashion shows took on a more minimalist structure. Instead of each designer or team of designers holding their own show in what sometimes proved to be unsafe locations, a consolidation of sorts took place. Although some designers felt it would stifle their creativity, this concept has grown and has become the norm.
Fashion Shows Today
Fashion shows of today are frequently held in venues without much of a background or even a theme. They are star-studded affairs that draw celebrities as well as buyers. They have become national and world-wide events that are recorded by the television industry. Some fashion shows are even made into documentaries and marketed throughout the world.
Guest post from Casey Lynch. Casey writes about home insurance and related topics for HomeInsurance.org.