Monday, October 18, 2010

a bird's skull made of brass and an arrowhead carved out of night.

Collapsing time. In between what came before and what I'm writing now was a warm walk to uni, a drop in to my work for a grimace and a commiseration with my manager who is shut in on this glorious day. I tried to pretend to him that it was horrible out but the sunlight streaming through the glass shopfront glittered right through my shamming words.
And now at the Arc, a large flat white (yes, my order has changed! 2010 will be a year for the annals) and a coverless old Grazia scrounged from my bag. Why am I lugging around an old Grazia? Because of what editor Alison Veness-McGourty said in her letter last week:

When I first started going to the shows in Paris, we usually had to send couriers (usually fashion interns) to collect the film from the photographer, and they would fly back to the office where it was processed in a dark room, and then the transparencies were edited. (Aside: gotta love another woman who loves a long sentence. As if your reader is fooled by your twelve apostrophes which give it a second, third, fourth... eleventh wind) That was way back. Imagine no digital, no iPhones, no BlackBerry, no iPads. . . It was a Really Big Deal to be there. Now it's all instant, but make the most of it because there is a growing backlash against all the easy fashion access and a yearning for a return to elitism- where only a small, hand-picked audience accesses the shows. Bye-bye bloggers, they won't be invited. Bye-bye backstage photographers. And bye-bye the hordes of style snappers out front who wait for the fashion crowd and feed off them like demented piranhas.

The blogger backlash. Well, this is fashion, kids, and maybe the tide has turned. As the sage Heidi Klum reminds us on a weekly basis on Project Runway, 'in fashion, one day you're in and the next you're out.' (Can I quote Heidi Klum in my PhD? o please o please?) 
Veness-McGourty's letter opened a new question in my mind that really should have occurred to me before now: what happens when bloggers go out of fashion, as they may very well do? Courted while they are enfants terribles, knowledgable, stylish, feted for the daring and new eyes they bring to a collection- only to be unceremoniously dumped off the front row and out into 'General Admission' line? Perhaps, perhaps. 

I don't think that this will happen to all bloggers. Rumi Neely has a sweet thang going on with Stolen Girlfriend's Club, for example- she seems to embody their ideal customer, and with her high profile amongst what must surely be their target market (young women, roughly 16-35), it seems unlikely that they would snatch away her Air New Zealand boarding pass and send her back into the wilds of California where, no doubt, people will keep logging on in droves anyway to see how she's styled her leather shorts and Andi clogs (ARGH) today.

But as for the high fashion labels- who knows? Tom Ford staged a show to exhibit his first collection for women since leaving Gucci in 2004. There was a moratorium on photo-taking, so there are no images available of it at all despite the fact that it was shown on September 13. If it was a regular show, images of each look would have been on and almost instantly; bloggers would have already posted their favourite looks and picked apart why they like them. Instead, the only visual I found was this sketch by Grace Coddington and Hamish Bowles from US Vogue

And if you want to read more about the vibe of the show, it's worth reading the Vogue breakdown- it sounds like a very sweet, intimate and warm showing. 

As for what will happen to the new wave of bloggers' access to shows? Well, let's take it with a grain of salt- 99.99% of bloggers never get an invite in the mail in the first place but it hasn't stopped the flow of their words and self-styling. As for the rest, I guess we'll just have to wait and see. . .

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