Monday, October 12, 2009

Oh Alexander!

One of the beautiful things about Paris Fashion Week is that it is a time when creativity is let loose, inhibitions abandoned and spirits soar. At fashion shows and events, on the streets and in the salons, all cares are cast aside and there seems to be more positive energy (or the perception of it) in the air. This may be the reason that it seems to be a time to sit back and enjoy the creativity and innovation that could appear in the fashion horizon from any angle.

Watch the Alexander McQueen show

This season it came from two designers, first from Alexander McQueen who demonstrated yet again that he's pro-innovation and that he understands that technology is the best means of ensuring that the spice of originality is maintained in a luxury brand.

Presenting his colourful, jellyfish (and yes, wearable) collection on models dressed as futuristic personas that glided and floated (rather than strutted) through the catwalk, the techno-set was completed with two live robot cameras that also glided on the stage while transmitting images to a giant background screen and also live to the internet. As you may have already guessed 29,000 hits in one second led the server to crash but the show went on and the intrigue outlived the performance. By the end of the show the audience were spellbound and I think it really hit home to the roomful crowd that technology is already changing the face of fashion forever.

Manish Arora surrounded by models after his show at the Crazy Horse in Paris
(Photo from the IHT / New York Times)

My second wow moment during this week of shows that somewhat spelt 'sameness' and lots of 'deja vu' moments was when I saw Manish Arora's collection at Crazy Horse. Yes, Manish Arora the Indian designer who has broken the mould into Paris Fashion Week! Not only was his collection what I would call simply 'sublime' in terms of marrying creative attention, sophistication and comfort but the presentation on the mini-stage was also well thought out and perfectly used innovation and technology to maximize mimium resources. In the place of the now passé models strutting down endless runways, Manish had his models pose in trios as static mannequins on stage while a pre-programmed motor gradually spinned them around ensuring that each piece was viewed in 3-D. It may sound simple enough but guess who thought about it first? Watch out for the bandwagon effect that is so common in luxury and fashion.

No brand moved me this fashion season like Alexander McQueen and Manish Arora and their boldness in using the tools provided by technology to reinforce their creativity is sending a bell ringing in luxury land, I hope.

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