NYFW: DIANE VON FURSTENBERG F/W 2016

Diane von Furstenberg F/W 2016
Diane von Furstenberg F/W 2016

I have come to accept the fact that 2016 is going to be the year of cataclysmic change for fashion. Some of that change we can see, such as more labels switching to current-season, see-now, buy-now strategies. Other changes, however, we won’t necessarily know about until they happen. Last night’s DVF presentation was one of those surprises and, while there are definitely some strong points that are likely to catch on with other designers, there is also plenty of room for improvement along the way, such as maybe letting everyone know when there isn’t going to actually be a runway.

What von Furstenberg pulled off last night was nothing short of amazing from a strictly PR standpoint. Staged from her offices in the Meatpacking district, the production was a multilevel event that was part nightclub, part funhouse, part editorial set, with guests milling up and down the stairs from one level to another, photographers on each level trying to figure out what was going on and simultaneously taking every picture they could, DVF giving interviews in the stairwell, and models posting pictures to Instagram through the whole event. Sounds like fun, doesn’t it? Without question it was.

The downside was that not everyone was clued in on what was happening. First, there was no live stream of the event, and I’m not sure that there could have been without it taking on the complexity of a full-scale television production. With multiple stages on multiple levels, there was no one place to look. Second, if one was attempting to keep up through social media, then you may not have paid a lot of attention to all the pictures that were labeled “BTS (behind-the-scenes),” as most of the pictures coming out of the event were being labeled. It’s pretty bad when even the people at the event don’t realize the degree to which they already are in the event and part of the action. Third, because apparently no one tipped off the contract photo agencies as to what was going on, none of them actually captured usable photos of every piece in the collection. Sure, they had pictures of the party, but sometimes guests would be in the way, or a model would have her phone blocking her face, or any other number of problems that prevented the pictures from being something the agencies could then sell to content providers. The pictures you see above were taken before the event by DVF’s house photographer and distributed late last night.

So, while the event was exciting, yes, and different, yes, it was far from perfect and quite likely won’t result in the significant sales I’m sure DVF was hoping to achieve. The items from the show that were available for immediate sale were severely limited, and instead of the whole collection selling out, even the gold and black embellished silk and lace slip dress worn by Gigi Hadid was still in stock and immediately available as of this writing. You can get yours on the DVF website for only $428. While the dress may still sell out, the pace isn’t quite what was anticipated.

The clothes? Oh yes, DVF is still stuck in the 70s. Again. For the third season in a row. For all the new approach and methodology, the clothes themselves were closer to yawn-inducing. They needed fashion’s top models-of-the-moment wearing them to give them a sense of life and attraction because without those famous faces this collection would be one of the most unimpressive we’ve seen from von Furstenberg in quite a while. We understand, Diane is busy with all the CFDA activities and trying to oversee all the change that is happening to NYFW, and perhaps that just didn’t leave her enough time to sketch out and develop a more creative and interesting collection. There are only so many hours in a day, and that too is one of the challenges fashion is facing.

Vogue.com makes a point of mentioning that both DVF and the CFDA are utilizing the services of the Boston Consulting Group. I’m certain this season’s severe twist toward social media is largely of their doing. However, let us hope that they get some of the kinks worked out by September. Being different is exciting, but different without purpose usually results in failure. This DVF presentation was a lot of fun for those who were there, but confusing as hell for anyone who wasn’t. That’s not likely to be a winning combination for the long-term.

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