Last year belonged to creative director musical chairs and experimentations with the "see-now-buy-now" model. Twenty seventeen so far looks to be the year where more and more fashion houses look to cut back on the number of fashion shows they put on in a year. Apparently, there is such a thing as too many fashion shows.
Versace is the just the latest to cut back, but their announcement may be the most notable. The Italian fashion house will no longer show at Couture Week in Paris.
“At the moment, we do six shows a year, and my feeling is: That’s a lot of shows,” recently appointed chief executive Johnathon Akeroyd told The New York Times. “Eight, if you count couture, seems excessive. And we all know the model is changing quite a lot, so why not take the opportunity to try something new?”
The change begins immediately, meaning there will be no last hurrah at next week's edition of couture.
Versace, which as an Italian house is a correspondent member of the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture, has in recent years occupied the opening slot of couture week, so its absence is no small matter. (Versace did previously sit out Couture week from 2004 until it returned in 2012.)
Of course, the Versace Atelier itself isn't cutting back. The division will still produce custom gowns for its most elite clientele. Versace will present its offering in smaller client-facing events scattered across the globe.
Akeroyd isn't worried about any loss in publicity either. He wagers that outfitting celebrities in its custom gowns for major red carpet events will make up for it. The brand recently dressed Blake Lively and Naomi Campbell at the Golden Globes and is sure to dress more stars at the Oscars.
This is one of Akeroyd's first major moves since being installed as CEO in May (he previously spent 10 years at Alexander McQueen), but it also fits into the wider context of the fashion world at the moment.
Left and right it seems that fashion labels are cutting down on the number of shows they present. Many, like Bottega Veneta, Kenzo, Burberry, Gucci and Vivienne Westwood (to name just a few) are combining men's and women's shows. Others are forgoing traditional shows altogether. Misha Nonoo, for example, debuted her latest collection on Snapchat.
Then there's the now decades-long story line of how relevant couture remains. Sure, there's still money to make in outfitting the one percent of the one percent, but the real upside for many brands is the publicity that comes with showing the highest level of the brand's creativity and craftsmanship.
Though he cited the "time and intensity of producing a show" as the main reason for sitting out the season, Akeroyd did leave the door open to an eventual return to the schedule, just not any time soon.