Opinions: By Angelo Flaccavento, Vanessa Friedman, Anders Christian Madsen, Suzy Menkes and Sarah Mower
F iv eyear sa reworth fifty year sin fashion. L on g-termf ore cast salmost alwaysprov et obewholly inaccurate or spectacularly off-topic in these cases, as the reality of the situation exceeds, or savagely quashes, any fantasy. It is therefore hard to tel l if men’s fashion shows will still exist with their respective fashion weeks in f ive years’ time. They could be entirely swallowed up by co-ed shows hosted in other calendars, or even replaced by new means and formats.
From a narrative and strategic perspective, this would scarcely be a good thing. Men’s fashion, which is constrained within stricter material and iconographic boundaries compared to womenswear, is reduced to a mere appendix in coed shows, shr i nking t he space to develop penetrating visions that are so necessary, vital and indispensable. The alternative tools – videos, performances and Instagram post s – are somehow ineffective.
The s how rema i ns t he per f ect medium, as it is the only one that can transform the goods into a sociocultural represent at ion, act i vat i ng t hem i n a dimension of enter t ainment t hat produces a f lood of feelings – a sense of identif ication f irst of a l l.
Today, at a time when the experience is given key importance in the promotion of anything, from products to aesthetics, this validity is if possible twofold. The fashion show is an experience to the nth degree, organised as a ritual in which the pathos of anticipation is f leetingly satisf ied by the swift performance, whose conclusion is never really conclusive but leaves us yearning for more. Worn on living and moving bodies, clothes come alive on the catwalk, going from inert objects to vehicles of thought, agitation and ref lection.
The runway also obliges an exercise in editing that helps to structure and sharpen the message, breaking up into an abundance of material and immaterial spores that continue to germinate for a long time. Lastly, in a world that has knocked down e very b arrier, r unways preserve a semblance of exclusivity that constitutes an added value.
Shows are therefore all but irrepl acetable, unless devilish product placement - with fashion-making currently flattened on its horizon - manages to supplant the filter of professionals and reach the consuming public directly via specifically cal ibrated means. Progress, however, is not such a brutal and predictable commercial transaction.
Only visions can grasp and shape needs, generating culture precisely around consumpt ion, which, wi l l i ng or not, is the keystone of the capitalist