An Editor's Guide to the Perfect Runway Show
[TEXT]: Brittany Law
Editors and buyers from around the retail and publishing worlds spend various fashion weeks every year in a number of cities viewing collections for a living. In other words, we (myself included) watch runway shows. Sometimes, we witness amazing presentations; mind blowing masterpieces. And other times, we see… room for improvement. It is for this reason that I’ve decided to take a page out of Style Republic, and write about the things that make (or break) a fantastic runway spectacle. To be completely frank, some cities are better at Fashion Week than others – that’s okay. However, it is important that people learn from their mistakes (hence, this article). After sitting through one too many poorly executed presentations, myself and various other editors have decided to throw in our two cents. Here’s what we came up with…
Editors and buyers are big on classy invites. Every year, Brand X will try and out-do the previous year’s prestigious hard copy production. Is it a waste of money, time and paper? No. A hardcopy show invitation sets the mood of a show for every individual who is sent one. Some designers will even take the invitation a step further, and make a production out of the delivery (perhaps next year Ralph Lauren will have them delivered by a prince on horseback… Too much?)
2. 15 Minutes Max (Unless You’re Karl)
Your above average runway show (big production, big lights, bigger city-type of fete) is anywhere between seven and fifteen minutes; this is perfect. The best runway presentations will never cross the 15-minute mark. Why? Because Editors are busy, busy people – they are also very impatient (trust me). The second a runway show passes the 15 minute mark, the entire front row is checking their watches, rolling their eyes, and plotting an escape route. If we (editors) can’t spot a safe passage out, we’re talking to editors beside us about how long and drawn out Designer X’s show is. The last thing you want is a room full of media icons conversing with each other about how badly they want to escape. They may be competitors in the business world, but they’ll work together if their time is on the line.
3. This Is A Business
This is a big one, because people often forget it. Designers, the entire purpose of a runway presentation is to do one thing and one thing only: SELL YOUR BRAND. Whether that includes stroking the collective media’s ego, or showing off your flowing frocks to the city’s hottest buyers. Make sure that these people are taken care of. The minute you lose sight of your business and the people who can help you grow it, trust me, you’ve lost it. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone to a runway show, only to see the buyer for Multi-million Dollar Company X standing behind the designer’s notorious group of front-row-seated friends (who, by the way, aren’t wearing the designer's designs).
4. Composure is Key
Designers, you spend a lot of money choosing a production company that will see to it that your runway presentation goes smoothly. At the end of the day, a runway show isn’t JUST about sending clothing down a catwalk; it’s about leaving your demographic with a good impression of your brand and the people who work for it. So you can imagine how turned off we are when the head of production loses his or her sh*t over a broken nail (or worse, over their employer) while we’re taking our seats. Bottom line? Spend those PR dollars wisely.
5. Don’t Lie
The worst person that you could possibly lie to at a runway show is an Editor. These people network for a LIVING; they know everyone! If you lie to one editor (e.g. “We didn’t send out invitations this year…” or “The front row is just for friends and family…”), they’ll find out the truth from one of their billion industry contacts. Together, they will black list you. Not because it’s personal, and not because it’s unfair… But if you’ll lie to one of us, you’ll lie to all of us.