Behind the Catwalk: The REAL Artists of Fashion Week

 

By: Lorene Belotti, Guest Blogger

 

Are you a fashionista? If, like me, you’re not obsessed with fashion and Fashion Week, here is a little bit of history. The first French Fashion Week took place in 1973, but this event was initially born in 1943 in New York City. Today, you can respectively, virtually witness the four major Fashion weeks in New York, London, Milan and Paris. In January and June, famous fashion designers present their haute couture collection while in March and September they show their ready-to-wear collection.

As a girl who can’t afford these expensive outfits, here is my question: why are so many people in the exact same financial situation interested in these events? Why is it so fascinating to watch models walk down a runway wearing clothes we won’t ever be able to pay for?

We know that fashion we see in the streets comes from high fashion trends. If Dior or Ralph Lauren decides purple is trendy, it is. You’ll see purple in every collection of every affordably marked brand as well. This is the influence of the clothes industry’s top level.

I guess people always identify with something /someone they judge famous, bigger, or better. They believe if they wear a Chanel outfit, they will be part of a “privileged microcosm.” They imagine they’ll be another person; they will be the image the brand gives. That’s the reason why so many people also buy fake luxury brand items. They only want to “seem like” people who can really afford it.

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Image from Huffingtonpost.com

I see haute couture differently. I think high fashion brands are guardians of ancestral know-how and that’s what makes these brands exceptional and so special. High-fashion pieces are featured by the incredible work of craftswomen who realize super detailed job that requires a long and tough apprenticeship. These dressmakers spend hours on one piece giving all their passion and know-how to hand-stich every bead, to embroider, and to create a unique piece.  (I read that during this year’s Cannes Festival Audrey Tautou wore a dress that required 400 hours of work!) I’ve seen a report on a Chanel shoes maker, working in his workshop, far from the glamorous images of catwalks, but so much more close to my definition of beauty. Seeing this man giving his best to create a quality boot, assembling every piece one by one, taking the time to make things right, putting forward quality over quantity, was moving and splendid.

Luxury brands are the last entities that take time to make quality and unique items. They are also the only ones that dare to create useless things. Let’s be honest, some of the pieces that are presented are not wearable, but knowing that people gave all their heart and special skills to make them transforms them into masterpieces. We’re not talking about simple outfits anymore; we’re talking about art.

In a world where everything goes super-fast, where we have to be productive, where quantity has overtaken quality, I think celebrating “Art work” gives us a breath of fresh air. Taking a look at what truly is high fashion, that is to say paying attention to the people who work backstage, to their art and their passion, is just like admiring an artist.

That is what I want to celebrate during fashion weeks. I want to honor the capacity of these craftsmen and craftswomen in the shade, the people who simply live and respect their passion. I want to tell them that the skinny models who make me want to give them something to eat or famous people sitting in the front rows of the catwalk are not what make Fashion Week incredible. I want them to know the more beautiful thing I see during every Fashion Week is their dedication, their passion, their respect for their art, and their ability to respect the time it takes to become so good.

About Lorene: Lorene is a French observer and learner of life. She’s been working as a salesperson and a marketing assistant for four years to learn the ropes of the business world. She used to be a sports journalist while doing her Master’s degree and she loves writing and telling stories about great people too much not to go back to her first love soon. She lives in the French Alps, and loves to try to solve the world’s problems while having a great meal with her loved ones. She is passionate about foreign languages, self-development books, American TV shows, and people. Oh, and she’s a total nerd of Academic studies (when she’ll win the lottery, she’ll go to Harvard).

 

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