Fashion, despite its reputation, may not be as frivolous as you might think – but it’s certainly as fun. There’s nothing quite like a fashion show: the chance to marvel at the world’s leading designer’s latest creations showcased before your very eyes, all in a thrilling, exclusive atmosphere with your equally fashion-obsessed peers.
Better yet, experience the thrill of the runway at one of the leading fashion weeks around the world with our guide to 5 fashion shows that every self-respecting fashionista must see before they die.
New York Fashion Week
If you haven’t heard of this one, you’ve literally been living under a rock your entire life. In a fitting honor for the cosmopolitan capital of the world, New York leads the ‘Big Four’ fashion week schedules around the world with its cutting-edge semi-annual New York Fashion Week (or Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week as it is known in some years). With a long, illustrious history dating back to 1943, this fashion week remains a show-stopper with two events each year showcasing the best of designers’ upcoming seasons. Prepare to mingle with some of America’s fashionable elite, and make sure not to commit a fashion faux pas – this is the worst place to wear mismatching socks!
London Fashion Week
London is next in the Big 4 schedule, held in February and September each year. For the past few years it has been hosted in the grand Somerset House in central London, featuring an extensive exhibition of over 150 designers while, in the central courtyard, a large marquee plays backdrop to a series of catwalk shows. In other words, it’s a fashionista’s dream come true.
Milan Fashion Week
It only makes sense to savor what is arguably the world’s most stylish city with a visit to the effortlessly stylish Milan Fashion Week. Italians seem to have a knack for fashion, and this event is their playground – think Dolce & Gabbana, Roberto Cavalli and Gucci, as well as the up-and-coming designers. Its summer events dedicated to the sometimes neglected realm of menswear – Milano Moda Uomo – are another big drawcard.
Paris Fashion Week
To conclude our round-up of the crème of the crop in fashion, the City of Light hosts the prestigious Paris Fashion Week twice a year, a regular who’s who of fashion. As the home of so many of the premier fashion houses and designers, it’s hardly surprising that Paris – perhaps more than any other of the Big 4 – remains a who’s who of fashion every year. Rub shoulders with the likes of Lagerfeld, Wintour and Hollywood’s A List on a fashion pilgrimage to Paris Fashion Week.
Hong Kong Fashion Week
It’s time to move beyond the Big 4 now and turn our sights to an up-and-coming fashion event that is taking Asia by storm. Hong Kong Fashion Week is believed to be Asia’s biggest fashion festival and celebrates the increasingly diverse, creative and all-round glamorous work of thousands of Asian designers. Soak back and enjoy the stunning work of some little-known designers in one of the world’s biggest and most cosmopolitan cities. Bliss.
Maria Lucia is a fashionista and avid traveler from Melbourne, Australia, who is in the know on all the trends, from swimwear to menswear to the latest tops for women.
Over the past two weeks fashion fanatics have been absolutely spoilt with the opening of London Fashion Week, Paris Haute Couture and Stockholm Fashion Week. These shows highlight the best of what local industries have to offer, but seem to stride by in a flash. However, there is a less fleeting way to observe and explore the wonders of fashion; simply visit a fashion museum. There are a number of outstanding fashion museums across the globe that are home to incredible fashion pieces, from the here and now to the historically relevant. We’ve outlined four of the best below.
Any fashion list would be incomplete without an addition from Italy. The Museo Salvatore Ferragamo plays homage to this legendary fashion designer’s products, as well as the international celebrities that helped build the brand. Salvatore Ferragamo was known as the ‘shoemaker of the stars’ and the museum has rotating exhibitions, like ‘Marilyn’, which highlights a collection worn by this iconic star.
Founded by a descendant of a wealthy Chilean-Palestinian textile merchant, this fashion museum is the only dedicated museum of its kind in South America. It is home to an impressive 10,000 piece collection, acquired through auction or donation. The museum has some incredible items, such as the military jacket that John Lennon wore during the LIFE magazine photo shoot in 1966, as well as the strapless black evening dress worn by Princess Lady Diana during her first public appearance after her engagement to Prince Charles. The fashion museum embraces the new and the old, with some items dating as far back as 5BC.
This museum is located in the world renowned Fashion Institute of Technology and is known in particularl for it spectacular award winning exhibitions. Its work has become so well known that it recently received accreditation from the American Alliance of Museums, the highest recognition for a museum in the United States. It enjoys 100,000 visitors per year and houses 50,000 items, ranging from 18th century garments to present day fashion accessories.
This eight gallery museum located on the university grounds features eight rotating displays of work by artists and designers. It provides students with a personal view of both historic and contemporary fashion from across the globe, ranging from the 17th to the 21st centuries. With these incredible fashion museums around, you’re in the front row for a show on the entire history of fashion.
Penny Munroe is an avid writer in fashion news and tips, including reviews on the latest designer dresses and tips on how to wear the season’s latest trends.
South Africa’s most well-known township is hosting its first fashion show, aptly named the Soweto Fashion Week. The event, which started Thursday, aims to showcase the work of some of Soweto’s struggling but most talented designers. The Soweto Fashion Show also offers designers the unique opportunity to display the creativity and history of their home through design and fashion. According to Stephen Manzini, the entrepreneur responsible for organising the Soweto Fashion Week, the township bordering southwest Johannesburg is the ideal location to host a fashion show as it has such a vibrant culture that is conducive to creativity.
Designers of the Soweto Fashion Week have not been asked to showcase extensive collections nor have they been charged to participate, unlike other more established fashion events. This will give relatively unknown designers the chance to introduce their work to the owners and buyers of boutiques, as well as potential investors. In essence, the Sowetan Fashion Week acts as a platform for fashion designers and other creatives.
Manzini has stated that the Soweto Fashion Week is an ambitious title for the event, which will span three days and highlights the work of sixteen Sowetan designers. Rehearsals for the show were held in the parking lot and garden of an apartment in Northern Johannesburg as funding was limited. However, through sheer determination and the goodwill of sponsors, Manzini was able to raise R60 000 (around $7,500) for the event. Manzini is confident that the success of the debut 2012 Sowetan Fashion Week will result in it growing into a full week, giving many more designers the opportunity to show their talent to the world. Jabu Mlangeni, a local businesswoman who attended the show on Thursday said that she had attended a fashion show in the upmarket Sandton a few years ago, where she was amazed by the beautiful designs of David Tlala, one of South Africa’s top black designers. She hopes to see the next Tlale at the Sowetan Fashion Show.
Soweto has a reputation for having its own quirky style, inspired by Africa’s love for bright colours, the township’s urban living and Europe’s high fashion, as can be seen by the designs at the Soweto Fashion Week. Nelson Mandela has also played a major role in the township’s fashion style. The former president lived in the township as a young man and activist in the 1940s, and was well known for wearing dapper suits and later on, relaxed yet brightly coloured shirts. Other looks from the 1940s and 50s are also popular in Soweto.
The Sowetan Fashion Week is being held at the modern Soweto Hotel, one of the fashion show’s sponsors, and holds a unique spot in South Africa’s history. The hotel sits on Freedom Square, where South Africans from all class and colour come together to adopt the Freedom Charter. Appropriately, the Sowetan Fashion Week is a place where Sowetan designers can liberate their creativity and create opportunity.
Penny Munroe is an avid writer in fashion related news and tips. Articles include selecting the best Olympia Bags for the right ocassion to the latest red carpet fashion trends.
Name and occupation:
Nikki L. Dancy, Licensed Nail Technician and Professional Makeup Artist
What do you love most about being a woman?
What I love most about being a woman is that I am able to express myself emotionally and also I am able to be versatile when it comes to my sense of style.
Have you had to deal with much sexism in your industry?
No, I have not had to deal with sexism in my industry as of yet.
Who or what inspires you most?
There are so many powerful women that work in the profession of nails and makeup artistry and they inspire me to work even harder at pursuing my dreams and aspirations.
Something about you that would surprise us:
I never thought being a nail tech or makeup artist would be in my future, my goal in life was to be a Nurse Practitioner.
Advice for women entrepreneurs:
Never give up no matter what it looks like. The sky is the limit and it’s yours!
Here’s the abused foot of a model wearing Louis Vuitton shoes during a recent runway show at Fashion Week. I’ve learned that it is common for the shoes available to the models to be a “sample” size that many of the models usually can’t fit into because they have a larger or smaller foot. This means they have to pull off a fierce walk in what may be too big or too small shoes.
Am I the only one thinking that the modeling industry can fix this issue very easily by simply offering more than one shoe size for the numerous models that seductively walk across runways yearly to sell their brand?