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When we (and I do not mean the royal We, but We the fashion collective) talk about fashion and technology, we almost always talk about Facebook and Twitter and Instagram and Tumblr and ecommerce, and so on – ways for brands to communicate with consumers – and then we talk about how fashion was so bad at it, and how important it is, an industry-changer, etc. But this week was Internet Week in New York, and I had a conversation with Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez of Proenza Schouler that made me think we’ve all been missing the real revolution. It’s not in comms (or not only); it’s behind-the-scenes, in creativity.
The news this morning that Kraft had decided to re-christen its snack food group “Mondelēz International” has got me thinking about names, and the point or power therein. My first reaction, after all, upon reading the word was to make a face and roll my eyes and think: “ridiculous.” Yet who am I to talk: my particular industry is full of often unpronounceable, hard to spell, and apparently odd names — Proenza Schouler, Thakoon, Meadham Kirchhoff, Mary Katranzou, Prabal Gurung — that don’t seem to have hurt the brands themselves one bit.
The electorate in general may be voicing ambivalence about the current administration (though it’s unclear who the alternative will be, or what they will think of him), and Wall Street may be swinging toward Mitt Romney, but one sector, at least, is standing by the current President: Fashion. In this election, as in the last, a number of America’s highest profile designers have stood up to lend their names and creative skills to fund-raising for their candidate. Today Runway to Win, a web site created by the DNC and the Obama re-election committee, is “previewing” products from 23 designers, all working under their own names, not their brand names, whose proceeds will go toward the melee to come.
As I’ve been making the (endless) pre-collection rounds I’ve noticed a few trends/innovations I wanted to pass on. Here they are, from most original to most accessible:
1. The Spant
This could also be called a “skant,” though since scant is an actual word already, I think it risks confusion and “spant” is better. As to what this exciting new hybrid is, think silk palazzo pants-meet-long-skirt, so what looks like soigné trousers from the front swish like a train in the back.
The garment comes courtesy of Olivier Theyskens at Theyskens Theory, and though it may sound weird, paired with a tank top or t-shirt (though it’s called “pre-fall”, it hits stores in June) it also may be the coolest new proposal for how to dress up for evening. Also — just say the word. “Spant.” Spant. Fun, right?
September is both Back to School! and Back to Fashion Week!, and sic discussion with my children about what they are looking forward to, I’ve been mulling over what Iam looking forward this fashion season, which begins in NY on Thursday. For what it’s worth, here’s what I expect to be the best topics of discussion over dinner or cocktails:
Is there a difference between European and American luxury? And if so, does it have to do with aesthetics, or markets? I’ve been pondering this ever since the news broke that, after a year of rumours, Andrew Rosen, the great NY garmento who founded Theory and re-invented Helmut Lang, and John Howard of Irving Place Capitol (a fashion-focused private equity fund) finally bought Permira’s stake in US brand Proenza Schouler.