If creativity is the residue of time wasted, as Albert Einstein once said, surely the catwalk is the platform for trying new ideas that otherwise would never have come to light. Particularly for designers who are wary of editing and are keen to indulge every idea, in multiple forms.
Fashion shows can be boring. For buyers and journalists, who must power through four consecutive weeks of international shows each season, sometimes as many as eight per day, the worst runway presentations are those with superfluous repeats of the same garments and the same ideas. The best collections are those by brands who avoid convoluted shows, keeping the audience engaged with innovation and newness.
Which leaves us with most luxury brands, who are blatantly keen to sell to as many demographics and customers as possible, and are often guilty of editing neglect. From Giorgio Armani to Chanel and Dior, the ennui of having to see 80 to 100-plus looks shown on catwalks, often via insufferable repeats, is no seldom occurrence. Luxury brands have a penchant for (too many) variations of a minimal theme. Case in point: that one print pony that repeats on the catwalk in needless, multiple guises, be it a dress, a skirt, a tunic, a coat, a t-shirt, or a detail. Instead of keeping the variations for the showroom sales team, every option gets a runway exit. At the behest of the industry audience.
While some designers can engage audiences despite a high number of looks, like Matthieu Blazy at Bottega Veneta last week, where each outfit spoke of a different character, of fabric innovation, of novel styling and design, other houses tend to only spin the same record.
Here are six reasons to edit those runway collections and prevent catwalk ennui:
1. Quality over quantity
By editing a collection to include fewer looks, designers can focus on creating exceptional garments with better attention to detail, better fabrics, and better craftsmanship. This allows designers to create pieces that stand out and showcase their skills, rather than executing large numbers of items that tell the same story and are perhaps less well-made.
2. Better presentation
With fewer looks, designers can showcase their collections in a more coherent and organised way, allowing viewers to better appreciate the pieces and understand the designer's vision. This can also make the show more memorable and impactful, as each piece has more time to make an impression.
3. Time and resources
Creating large collections is time-consuming and expensive, especially for smaller brands. By editing a collection down to fewer looks, designers can save time and resources, allowing them to focus on perfecting their designs rather than producing a large volume of garments.
4. Consumer demand
In today's fast-paced fashion industry, consumers are looking for unique and standout pieces that they can incorporate into their wardrobes. By focusing on quality over quantity, designers can create pieces that are more likely to sell and stand the test of time.
In the boutiques of most luxury brands, the categories of handbags, shoes, accessories and beauty are usually always the best-selling items. They also take up most of the floor space. The full collection shown on the catwalk rarely, if ever, makes it into stores, with only a few items chosen by the brand’s retail buyers. The majority of pieces seen on the runway are for image, not sales.
All those garments made for the runway that fail to make production and never become available at retail, have a long carbon footprint. Just like the over-production of fast fashion, brands that over-produce copious garment samples with no use after their catwalk presentation equally contribute to the fashion industry’s wasteful use of resources.