In what is the first example of a brand opening its fashion week show to the wider public that I can remember — and the top of a potential slippery slope of fashion week transformation — at 10 a.m. on Wednesday,Givenchy will offer 820 seats to its spring 2016 extravaganza to, well, whoever gets there first. It’s certainly a first for Givenchy. (RSVP)
O.M.G.! O.M.G.! And all that. It’s a smart move.
The brand will be showing in New York, as opposed to the usual Paris, to mark the opening of its giant new Manhattan flagship (having a show to open a store is something of a new thing among designers: Valentino moved its couture show to Rome from Paris in July, for its new flagship there). This brings the city and its shoppers, literally, in.
Even more important, however, the Givenchy giveaway could ameliorate some of the ickiness around the fact that the show will be held on Sept. 11. There’s no getting away from the weirdness and discomfort of celebrating a temple to consumerism on a day of memory and mourning, but putting the event in the context of celebrating the resilience of a city and its people, with a certain openness as opposed to exclusion, will probably help. In any case, I fully expect the website to “experience difficulties due to demand” when applications go live — given the history of such limited fashion offerings as Lily Pulitzer for Target or Alexander Wang for H&M. Not that they really are comparable, being collections as opposed to tickets. But there’s a very good chance, if the response is as crazed as anticipated, that this will set off a new trend, one even more influential than the Givenchy designer Riccardo Tisci’s luxury sweatshirts. Other brands will undoubtedly be watching closely. Live stream, after all, may be great. But it doesn’t come close to live.