The fashion calendar is a year round extravaganza of travel, fashion, and events. The fashion crowd travels around the world to view an assortment of collections in a diverse set of countries. For those of you who are a little confused by the insanely busy calendar, I’ve broken it down for you. Here is your comprehensive guide to life in the fashion fast lane - in two parts!
There are a growing number of fashion weeks around the world and with that, a few different types. These main events include; couture, ready-to-wear, menswear, pre-fall and resort. One of the trickier things about these fashion weeks is that they do not necessarily happen when you would assume. The fall shows are shown in February/March, while the spring shows are show in September/October.
Couture – Haute couture is really at the helm of all things high fashion. Couture shows produce some of the most beautiful and extravagant pieces of fashion art. Charles Frederick Worth has been credited to being the first couturier, and since then many have gone on to follow his footsteps. Haute Couturiers today include; Chanel, Armani Privé, Christian Dior, Elie Saab, Giambattista Valli, Givenchy, Jean Paul Gaultier, Valentino and Versace.
Couture garments are made from high quality, luxurious fabrics and only a select few are able to make these elaborate pieces. Ateliers have been put in place so that the most experienced seamstresses are able to come together with their intricate, hand-sewn techniques and create the vision of the couture designer.
To produce Haute Couture, you must be a member of the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture. Established by the French Government, La Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture has been around since 1868. (Another reason why I love French culture, their government supports fashion).
The couture shows take place in Paris twice a year – Fall (shows in July) and Spring (shows in January) where editors, writers, buyers, and the couture houses clients attend the show. These select clients are considered customers of the Arts. Couture is not your average grocery run attire; it is made for black tie affairs and collecting rather than wear and tear. Many couture customers have large collections and often lend them out to exhibits and museums.
Ready-to-wear – RTW (prêt-a-porter) is the younger sister of couture. Yves Saint Laurent is credited to introducing ready-to-wear to his audience with his “Le Smoking” jacket in 1966. Since then, designers have flourished in this enticing section of fashion.
RTW is where you will find most designers showing their work. The RTW shows take up most of the major fashion months (March & September) because of the amount of cities the fashion crowd circulates to. It starts in New York, then moves on to London, then Milan, and ends in Paris. This is where you will see gaggles of street style photographers chasing after those who flaunt their excessive styling.
In New York, you will find the likes of; 3.1 Philip Lim, Acne, Proenza Schouler, The Row, and Marc Jacobs. In London, Burberry Prorsum, Erdem, Aquascutum, Christopher Kane and Paul Smith show their collections. Milan brings in Gucci, Versace, Salvatore Ferragamo, Fendi, and Jil Sander to name a few. Paris bringsa few of my personal favourites; Chanel, Carven, Celine and Stella McCartney. Younger brands have seen much success starting at a RTW brand, especially in New York with the CFDA's Fashion Fund in action.
Backstage at Chanel RTW