As Alexander Wang sprinted in high spirits as he closed his final show for Balenciaga, I could only feel his joy of moving on from the heightening pressure to surpass the demand to make something louder and more “innovative” than the next. A few weeks later Raf Simons announced he would be leaving Dior to focus on his independent menswear label and himself. Most recently it was made known that Alber Elbaz, long-time creative director of Lanvin, would be leaving as well.
Why all at the same time?
Elbaz discreetly speaks for all of these lead creative directors in his lengthy speech given at an awards ceremony days before his big announcement. In it, he describes the effect fashions “high-speed” demand has on fully immersing in the creative process fashion requires. “I said, ‘I need more time.’ And I think everybody in fashion these days needs just a little more time. Loudness is the new thing. Loudness is the new cool, and not only in fashion. I prefer whispering. I think it goes deeper and lasts longer.”
These designer’s are stepping down to slow down the fashion industries “Existential Crisis“, more so to prevent a burnout.
Right before his final Dior show, Simons said, “I’m questioning. I feel a lot of people are questioning. We have a lot of conversation about it: Where is it going? It’s not only the clothes. It’s the clothes, it’s everything, the Internet.”
An answer to fashions so called “burnout” lies in Simons’ statement – THE INTERNET (noun): “An external show to rival the inside show, with attendees dressing to be photographed, again and again and again.” So now we’ve got double shows competing to gain the likes and interests of an audience to beat out all the other shows happening, kind of like how selfies work.
There is something special about watching a live runway show just as Tom Ford said in a letter he sent out with his spring video: “Having a runway show has become so much about the creation of imagery for online and social media and watching a filmed fashion show can be like watching a filmed play (which is never very satisfying).”
Some good intuition in the minds of these creative directors told them that they could be the start of slowing things down so that designers could have their chance to saturate and live within their own creative worlds.