Nedret Taciroglu from Turkey during 2011/09 NYC Couture Fashion Week in Manhattan’s Waldorf-Astoria Hotel – Grand Ballroom
A model (from Middle French modelle) is a person with a role either to promote, display, or advertise commercial products (notably fashion clothing) or to serve as a visual aide for people who are creating works of art or to pose for photography.
Modelling ("modeling" in American English) is considered to be different from other types of public performance, such as acting or dancing. Although the difference between modelling and performing is not always clear, appearing in a film or a play is not generally considered to be "modelling".
Types of modelling include: fashion, glamour, fitness, bikini, fine art, body-part, promotional and commercial print models. Models are featured in a variety of media formats including: books, magazines, films, newspapers, internet and TV. Fashion models are sometimes featured in films: (Looker), reality TV shows (America’s Next Top Model, The Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency), and music videos: ("Freedom! ’90", "Wicked Game", "Daughters", and "Blurred Lines").
A fashion show (French défilé de mode) is an event put on by a fashion designer to showcase his or her upcoming line of clothing during Fashion Week. Fashion shows debut every season, particularly the Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter seasons. This is where the latest fashion trends are made.
In a typical fashion show, models walk the catwalk dressed in the clothing created by the designer. The clothing is illuminated on the runway by the lighting. The order in which each model walks out wearing a specific outfit is usually planned in accordance to the statement that the designer wants to make about his or her collection. It is then up to the audience to not only try to understand what the designer is trying to say by the way the collection is being presented, but to also visually deconstruct each outfit and try to appreciate the detail and craftsmanship of every single piece.
Occasionally, fashion shows take the form of installations or presentations, where the models are static, standing or sitting in a constructed environment. A wide range of contemporary designers tend to produce their shows as theatrical productions with elaborate sets and added elements such as live music or a variety of technological components like holograms, for example.
Fashion shows in the 21st century
Some designers have attempted to modernize the style and presentation of fashion shows by integrating technological advances in experimental ways, such as including pre-recorded digital videos as backdrops. During New York Fashion Week in 2014, designer Ralph Lauren presented his new Polo line for Spring 2015 in a water-screen projection in Manhattan’s Central Park. Technological progress has also allowed a broader portion of the fashion industry’s followers to experience shows. In 2010, London Fashion Week was the first fashion week to allow viewing of its shows through live streaming. Live streaming of runway shows and mediated shows has now become commonplace.
A fashion week is a fashion industry event, lasting approximately one week, wherein fashion designers, brands or "houses" display their latest collections in runway shows to buyers and the media. These events influence trends for the current and upcoming seasons.
The most prominent fashion weeks are held in the fashion capitals of the world, the "Big Four" receiving the majority of press coverage being New York, London, Milan, and Paris.
While the fashion scene turns more multipolar in the 21st century, other centers like Berlin, Los Angeles, Madrid, Rome, São Paulo, Shanghai and Tokyo host important fashion weeks.
FASHION WEEK HISTORY
The concept of fashion week began in Paris, when marketers would hire women to wear couture items in public places, from racetracks to salons.
These parades (parade is "défilé in French) gradually began to become social events of their own. (Indeed, in French, runways shows are still called "défilés de mode" — literally "fashion parades")
New York and the first "fashion week"
In 1903, a New York City shop called Ehrich Brothers put on what is thought to have been the country’s first fashion show to lure middle-class females into the store. By 1910, many big department stores were holding shows of their own. It is likely that American retailers saw what were called "fashion parades" in couture salons, and decided to use the idea. These "parades" were an effective way to promote stores, and improved their status. By the 1920s, the fashion show had been used by retailers up and down the country. They were staged, and often held in the shop’s restaurant during lunch or teatime. These shows were usually more theatrical than those of today, heavily based upon a single theme, and accompanied with a narrative commentary. The shows were hugely popular, enticing crowds in their thousands – crowds so large, that stores in New York in the fifties had to obtain a license to have live models.
In 1943, the first-ever "fashion week," New York Fashion Week, was held, with one main purpose: to distract attention from French fashion during World War II, when workers in the fashion industry were unable to travel to Paris. This was an opportune moment, as "before World War II, American designers were thought to be reliant on French couture for inspiration."
The fashion publicist Eleanor Lambert organized an event she called "Press Week" to showcase American designers for fashion journalists, who had previously ignored their works. Press Week was a success, and, as a result, magazines like Vogue (which were normally filled with French designs) began to feature more and more American innovations. Until 1994, shows were held in different locations, such as hotels, or lofts. Eventually, after a structural accident at a Michael Kors show, the event moved to Bryant Park, behind the New York Public Library, where it remained until 2010, when the shows relocated to Lincoln Center. This was the first time shows were organized into a set period of time.
Paris began holding couture shows in 1945, Milan Fashion Week was founded by the Italian Chamber of Commerce in 1958, Paris Fashion Week was further organized in 1973 under the French Fashion Federation, and London Fashion Week was founded by the British Fashion Council in 1984. Although these key organizations still organize most shows, there are independents and multiple producers in all cities, as well.
"Big Four" fashion weeks
Although there are many notable fashion weeks around the world, only four are known as the "Big Four": Paris, Milan, London and New York. While the fashion scene turns more multipolar in the 21st century, other centers like Berlin, Los Angeles, Madrid, Rome, Sibiu, São Paulo, Shanghai and Tokyo host important fashion weeks and other events.
There are primarily two kinds of shows: womenswear and menswear. There are also shows particular to each location. For example, there are "haute couture" shows in Paris, and in New York, there are "resort / cruise" and "bridal" shows.
Womenswear shows are held in February and September/October, in the following order: New York, London, Milan and Paris.
Menswear fashion weeks are held in January and June/July, in the following order: London, Milan, Paris, New York. Florence, Italy also offers a menswear trade show in the form of Pitti Immagine Uomo.
Paris’ haute couture shows take place in Paris in January and July. (Due to rules set down by the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture, haute couture can only be shown in Paris.)
More and more designers have shown inter-seasonal collections between the traditional Autumn/Winter and Spring/Summer seasons. These collections are usually more commercial than the main season collections and help shorten the customer’s wait for new season clothes. The inter-seasonal collections are Resort/Cruise (before Spring/Summer) and Pre-Fall (before Autumn/Winter). There is no fixed schedule for these shows in any of the major fashion capitals but they typically happen three months after the main season shows. Some designers show their inter-seasonal collections outside their home city. For example, Karl Lagerfeld has shown his Resort and Pre-Fall collections for Chanel in cities such as Moscow, Los Angeles, and Monte Carlo instead of Paris. Many designers also put on presentations as opposed to traditional shows during Resort and Pre-Fall either to cut down costs or because they feel the clothes can be better understood in this medium.
Some fashion weeks can be genre-specific, such as Miami Fashion Week & SWIMMIAMI (swimwear), Rio Summer (swimwear), The Haute Couture shows in Paris (one-of-a-kind designer originals), Indonesia Islamic Fashion Week (Moslem Fashion), Festive Wear at Bangalore Fashion Week and Bridal Fashion Week, while Portland (Oregon, USA) Fashion Week shows some eco-friendly designers. Bread and Butter Berlin hosts the leading fashion show for everyday fashion.
Timing of the events
Traditionally, fashion weeks were held several months in advance of the season to allow the press and buyers a chance to preview fashion designs for the following season. In February and March, designers showcased their autumn and winter collections. In September and October, designers showcased their spring and summer collections.
This timing was largely created to follow the (then slower) "retail cycle." In other words, it allowed time for retailers to purchase and incorporate the designers into their retail marketing.
However, as customer expectations have increased, the retail cycle has increased. As a result, in 2016, designers started moving to "in-season shows." In other words, shows have begun to feature garments that are available for sale immediately, online or in stores.
The other move has been to "see now, buy now" shows, often featuring clickable video, where looks are available online immediately following, or even during the show. "See now, buy now" experiences have included shows from Tom Ford, Nicole Miller, and TOMMY.
The advent of "see now, buy now" shopping has also come about in response to so-called "fast fashion" retailers, who copy designs from the runway and bring them to retail faster than traditional design houses.
In spite of the call to rethink the runways, so far the French Federation of Fashion (Fédération française de la couture) has opposed the change.
Haute couture, (French for "high sewing" or "high dressmaking" or "high fashion") is the creation of exclusive custom-fitted clothing. Haute couture is high end fashion that is constructed by hand from start to finish, made from high quality, expensive, often unusual fabric and sewn with extreme attention to detail and finished by the most experienced and capable sewers, often using time-consuming, hand-executed techniques. Couture translates literally from French as "dressmaking" but may also refer to fashion, sewing, or needlework – Fashion-Era and is also used as a common abbreviation of haute couture and refers to the same thing in spirit. Haute translates literally to "high". A haute couture garment is often made for a client, tailored specifically for the wearer’s measurements and body stance. Considering the amount of time, money, and skill allotted to each completed piece, haute couture garments are also described as having no price tag: budget is not relevant.
The term originally referred to Englishman Charles Frederick Worth’s work, produced in Paris in the mid-nineteenth century. In modern France, haute couture is a protected name that may not be used except by firms that meet certain well-defined standards. However, the term is also used loosely to describe all high-fashion custom-fitted clothing whether it is produced in Paris or in other fashion capitals such as London, Milan, New York City or Tokyo. In either case, the term can refer to the fashion houses or fashion designers that create exclusive and often trend-setting fashions or to the fashions created.
French legal status of term
In France, the term haute couture is protected by law and is defined by the Chambre de commerce et d’industrie de Paris based in Paris. The Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture is defined as "the regulating commission that determines which fashion houses are eligible to be true haute couture houses". Their rules state that only "those companies mentioned on the list drawn up each year by a commission domiciled at the Ministry for Industry are entitled to avail themselves" of the label haute couture. The Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne is an association of Parisian couturiers founded in 1868 as an outgrowth of medieval guilds that regulate its members in regard to counterfeiting of styles, dates of openings for collections, number of models presented, relations with press, questions of law and taxes, and promotional activities. Formation of the organization was brought about by Charles Frederick Worth. An affiliated school was organized in 1930 called L’Ecole de la Chambre Syndicale de la Couture. The school helps bring new designers to help the "couture" houses that are still present today. Since 1975, this organization has worked within the Federation Francaise, de couture, du Prêt-à-Porter des Couturiers et des Createurs de Mode.
More rigorous criteria for haute couture were established in 1945. To earn the right to call itself a couture house and to use the term haute couture in its advertising and any other way, members of the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture must follow specific rules:
– design made-to-order for private clients, with one or more fittings;
– have a workshop (atelier) in Paris that employs at least fifteen staff members full-time;
– have at least twenty full-time technical people, in at least one workshop (atelier); and
– present a collection of at least fifty original designs to the public every fashion season (twice, in January and July of each year), of both day and evening garments.
Other uses of the term
The term haute couture has been used in a manner ignoring the legal restrictions, by ready-to-wear brands and in the popular media, since the late 1980s, so that its legal meaning has become blurred—e.g., with that of prêt-à-porter (the French term for ready-to-wear fashion) in the public perception. Almost every haute couture house also markets prêt-à-porter collections, which typically deliver a higher return on investment than their custom clothing. Falling revenues have forced a few couture houses to abandon their less profitable haute couture division, to concentrate solely on the formerly less prestigious prêt-à-porter lines. These houses are no longer considered haute couture houses by the original, legal usage of the term.
Many top designer fashion houses such as Chanel use the word for some of their special collections; these collections are often not for sale, or they are very difficult to purchase.
As well, the term "haute couture" has taken on further popular meanings referring to non-dressmaking activities, such as production of fine art, music, etc.
HISTORY OF HAUTE COUTURE
Haute couture can be referenced back as early as the 17th Century. Rose Bertin, the French fashion designer to Queen Marie Antoinette, can be credited for bringing fashion and haute couture to French culture. French leadership in European fashion continued into the 18th century when influence was sourced from art, architecture, music, and fashions of the French court at Versailles were imitated across Europe. Visitors to Paris brought back clothing that was then copied by local dressmakers. Stylish women also ordered fashion dolls dressed in the latest Parisian fashion to serve as models.
As railroads and steamships made European travel easier, it was increasingly common for wealthy women to travel to Paris to shop for clothing and accessories. French fitters and dressmakers were commonly thought to be the best in Europe, and real Parisian garments were considered better than local imitations.
A couturier is an establishment or person involved in the clothing fashion industry who makes original garments to order for private clients. A couturier may make what is known as haute couture. Such a person usually hires pattern-makers and machinists for garment production, and is either employed by exclusive boutiques or is self-employed.
The couturier Charles Frederick Worth (October 13, 1826–March 10, 1895), is widely considered the father of haute couture as it is known today. Although born in Bourne, Lincolnshire, England, Worth made his mark in the French fashion industry. Revolutionizing how dressmaking had been previously perceived, Worth made it so the dressmaker became the artist of garnishment: a fashion designer. While he created one-of-a-kind designs to please some of his titled or wealthy customers, he is best known for preparing a portfolio of designs that were shown on live models at the House of Worth. Clients selected one model, specified colors and fabrics, and had a duplicate garment tailor-made in Worth’s workshop. Worth combined individual tailoring with a standardization more characteristic of the ready-to-wear clothing industry, which was also developing during this period.
Following in Worth’s footsteps were Callot Soeurs, Patou, Poiret, Vionnet, Fortuny, Lanvin, Chanel, Mainbocher, Schiaparelli, Balenciaga, and Dior. Some of these fashion houses still exist today, under the leadership of modern designers.
In the 1960s, a group of young designers who had trained under men like Dior and Balenciaga left these established couture houses and opened their own establishments. The most successful of these young designers were Yves Saint Laurent, Pierre Cardin, André Courrèges, Ted Lapidus, and Emanuel Ungaro. Japanese native and Paris-based Hanae Mori was also successful in establishing her own line.
Lacroix is one of the fashion houses to have been started in the late 20th century. Other new houses have included Jean-Paul Gaultier and Thierry Mugler. Due to the high expenses of producing haute couture collections, Lacroix and Mugler have since ceased their haute couture activities.
Modernized haute couture shows are not designed and made to be sold, rather they are exactly what they are displayed for – for show. Instead of being constructed for the purpose of selling and making money, they are made to further the publicity, as well as perception and understanding of brand image.
For all these fashion houses, custom clothing is no longer the main source of income, often costing much more than it earns through direct sales; it only adds the aura of fashion to their ventures in ready-to-wear clothing and related luxury products such as shoes and perfumes, and licensing ventures that earn greater returns for the company. Excessive commercialization and profit-making can be damaging, however. Cardin, for example, licensed with abandon in the 1980s and his name lost most of its fashionable cachet when anyone could buy Cardin luggage at a discount store. It is their ready-to-wear collections that are available to a wider audience, adding a splash of glamour and the feel of haute couture to more wardrobes. Fashion houses still create custom clothing for publicity, for example providing items to the television show Gossip Girl.
The 1960s also featured a revolt against established fashion standards by mods, rockers, and hippies, as well as an increasing internationalization of the fashion scene. Jet travel had spawned a jet set that partied—and shopped—just as happily in New York as in Paris. Rich women no longer felt that a Paris dress was necessarily better than one sewn elsewhere. While Paris is still pre-eminent in the fashion world, it is no longer the sole arbiter of fashion.
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