Gosha Rubchinskiy’s A/W 17 show was set in the little known city of Kaliningrad; a destination way off the fashion grid. This move shook up the start of the menswear shows, with further changes being made to settings, structures and silos; like Raf Simons first time showing on the New York Fashion Week schedule. There was an overarching feeling of digital dissonance creeping in, leading brands to question how and where best to stage their shows in a way that makes sense; for wider concepts in the collection to be considered.
Strong enough concepts may continue to move brands away from the four fashion capitals; London, Paris, New York and Milan, in favour of less tried and tested destinations. This is an artistic inclination that not all designers will share, but the few who do are likely to break new ground, on new terrain. Although some moves may be a strategic attempt to build a brand’s portfolio, one thing is for sure. Questioning traditional fashion show formats will help audiences to engage with these collections beyond the commercial guise of the industry, and with a brand like Gosha harnessing enough power to move an entire audience away from the norm, this can only be a catalyst for other designers to do the same.
Parties are divided over whether real-time streaming is diluting the spectacle of the fashion show, but in terms of the experience Gosha provided, this feels far from true. Designers still want the live audience to play their part; to be the physical manifestation of individual and group values; of people who want to see a shift in the way creativity is conducted. The beauty of these new contexts is that they ultimately want to connect people and bring worlds together, which may also be why designers are now combining mens and womenswear in one show; manifesting their values of inclusivity and openness in a physical context. Presenting ideas that can only survive outside traditional structures and giving audiences greater insight into how fashion can be used to communicate the most meaningful messages.