Thursday, 17 November 2011

Catwalk to Cover

The highest moments of the year for those working in fashion are the catwalk shows. For the designers, months of hard work are condensed in a few minutes of bliss, anxiety and excitement. (They usually go on holiday after the fashion week to recover their energy.)

Giambattista Valli SS10

The amount of celebrities on the front row usually dictates their level of public recognition and I have to mention the role of the PR ladies, always trying to make sure everything runs smoothly and in a well organised manner, although some are far more successful than others.

Anna Mouglalis and Vanessa Paradis
Catwalk to Cover exhibition FTM

Models run from one show after the other and make-up artists and hair stylists do their best to ensure they look coherent according to whole vibe of the collection and the designer's specifications.

Dolce & Gabbana finale SS10, photography Kristin Sinclair

But the models are not the only ones running, buyers, press and bloggers are also on the go, covering as many shows as humanly possible. Buyers get the orders rolling, members of the press go backstage and interview the designer - usually surrounded by TV cameras and microphones - and bloggers get hooked into their laptops and i-Pads.

Versace SS10

Everything moves at an incredible speed and the cameras keep flashing away, from all those who tried to capture the street style of the extravagant passers-by  to the professional photographers always aligned as a pyramid before the beginning of each show.

Celebrities think of what clothes to buy, buyers think of what clothes to sell and the press is thinking about fashion editorials, trends and features... Everyone has a different angle but just as in a play, they all expect to be blown away.

Vivienne Westwood SS10

Some designers are more dramatic thinking carefully about the surroundings, Karl Lagerfeld has created a whole underwater world for the latest Chanel show, while others let the clothes speak for themselves.

When you see show after show, the ones that stay in your memory are those that managed to go the extra mile and create the so-called wow factor, when the designer exceeds expectations and presents something totally in tune with the zeitgeist.

A dress from one of my favourite Prada collections SS08
Catwalk to Cover exhibition FTM

Miuccia Prada and Marc Jacobs seem to achieve this season after season but there are others who also succeed. The most eagerly awaited shows are of designers who always come up with something new while remaining true to their identity.

The catwalk show is a relatively recent phenomenon. Its origins can be traced back to the fashion parades that took place in the couture houses of 19th century Paris, but it wasn't until the 1990s that the fashion weeks started to emerge, first of all in New York.

Catwalk to Cover exhibition FTM

But if you want to know more about this, Catwalk to Cover, an exhibition opening tomorrow at the Fashion and Textiles Museum, provides a fascinating behind-the-scenes insight into the creative world of the fashion show.

Over 100 images from top catwalk photographers - Kirstin Sinclair, Chris Moore, Matt Lever and Philip Meech - and clothes by internationally acclaimed designers illustrate this exhibition.

Catwalk to Cover exhibition FTM

Catwalk To Cover - a front row seat
Curated by Kristin Sinclar
The Fashion and Textiles Museum
18 November 2011 to 26 February 2012 

A Front Row Seat
By Kristin Sinclair
(ACC Editions, £29.95)

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20 Years of Dazed & Confused Magazine
Postmodernism: Style and Subversion at V&A!