The Big Four Fashion Weeks: New York, London, Milan and Paris

The Big Four Fashion Weeks: New York, London, Milan and Paris
The four major Fashion Weeks are held semi-annually and internationally. Each one of the Fashion Weeks has a unique style, all their own.

In 1943, New York held the first Fashion Week, and has been the quintessential idea of fashion week ever since. Now known as the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, it does seem to be the most commercialized of the big fashion shows, in that the clothes are created ready-for-market. Its styles and designs are arguably a lot 'safer' than the other three locations.

In 1984, London jumped on the fashion train and recently has been making a splash with its high-end couture. London Fashion Week has not yet reached the commercial level of New York and is less likely to follow fashion trends. Rather, each London fashion house showcases its unique take on fashion-forward concepts, and their collections are still market ready. The heavy hitters in London like Richard Nicholl, Christopher Kane and Giles Deacon are all amazing designers who produce commercially viable collections that would stand out at any of the fashion shows around the world.

Milan's version of the week was established in 1958 and is part of the Big Four internationally. It is owned by a nonprofit association which disciplines, coordinates and promotes the development of Italian Fashion and is responsible for hosting the fashion events and shows of Milan called Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana. The original Italian Fashion Week was not held in Milan, instead it was held in Florence at the hands of Giovan Battista Giorgini. He held the first "fashion parade" in the living room of his house "Villa Torrigiani". Then the Italian week later moved to Rome, and then Milan where it is currently held in haute style today.

Paris is known as the fashion capital of the world, and holds the finale position in the fashion show tour. Paris Fashion Week brings each season's chaotic schedule of international fashion weeks to an end. High-end French designers include: Christian Dior, Coco Chanel, and Louis Vuitton along with many more stunningly talented designers. Typically, Paris has some of the most extravagant shows, especially with Paris Couture Week.

No matter which of the Big Four is your favorite, each week is sure to dazzle its audience with new haute couture designs year after year. In addition to haute couture trends, innovative fashion designs have also been making a big impact, especially in New York, the only location that allows a fashion school to feature its students' designs, which are often very fresh and inspirational. It is definitely important to keep up with the latest runway styles from all four weeks to stay on top of upcoming trends for the next season.

Burberry Prorsum RTW Spring 2013 London Fashion Week

Fashion designer Christopher Bailey has a well-rounded and coherent vision for Burberry laid out for next year.
It was that curved “Cristobal Balenciaga” shape that really stood out in this collection. Starting with the first exit of a cocooning cloak that almost completely hid a micro pleated metallic swimsuit to the plastic orange mini rain slicker cape and a number of cropped bomber-esque jackets; the style gave the show a structural freedom.
This focus on volume continued onto more trench coats and jackets, with huge bell sleeves that then worked to mimic the shape of full skirts below. They were worn with thin wedges, scalloped all the way up the foot and again in bright, bright flashes of colour.
There were pencil skirts in azure and fishtail hems to show off and amplify plenty of cocktail frocks, of which this collection came plentifully stocked. As it did micro knickers and super-cropped bomber jackets.

Philip Treacy and Lady Gaga - London Fashion Week RTW Spring 2013

Lady Gaga introduced an homage to Michael Jackson as the opening entertainment to milliner Philip Treacy's Spring 2013 collection at London Fashion Week.

The last great instigators were Alexander McQueen and Isabella Blow, both close friends of Mr. Treacy’s. He dedicated the show to them, and to Michael Jackson.

Mr. Treacy had the crazy idea of pairing his millinery designs with costumes worn by Mr. Jackson, before those garments are sold in December at Julien’s Auctions in Beverly Hills. Michael Bush, who worked with Mr. Jackson for 25 years — first as a dresser, then as a costume designer  — was in the front row, dressed in a glittery jacket.

Lady Gaga, veiled in hot-pink chiffon, was mistress of ceremonies. She is a friend and client of Mr. Treacy’s.

Philip Treacy's Spring 2013 collection

Jonathan Saunders RTW Spring 2013 London Fashion Week

"I wanted to capture the things I see in an Antonio Lopez Polaroids. Their drama, their intense colors," Saunders told FWD, referring to the legendary illustrator and chronicler of the Me Decade.
Using huge swirls, zigzags and twists of bold blocks of color and materials like neon sequins, metallic leathers and micro disk silk, Saunders created a collection that dazzled without ever falling into excess. It helps that his cuts are relatively restrained - slip dresses, almost prim tops and boyfriends' jackets. To keep it sexy, the Scotsman added in micro bras and large Disco Queen shades, yet the ensembles never looked stagey.

Jonathan Saunders RTW Spring 2013 collection

VIVIENNE WESTWOOD RED LABEL RTW Spring 2013 London Fashion Week


Creative Process Journal: Links

When I discovered this beautiful ultramarine blue bodice in an unmarked bin in the Ryerson Fashion Research Collection on Friday afternoon, I wanted to clap my hands with glee. The brilliance of the colour captivated me. Although it shows signs of stress and the inevitable decay, the colour has not faded at all. In fact, it looks almost as brilliant as this JCrew Schoolboy blazer that I purchased a few weeks ago for my back to school wardrobe. How uncanny is that?

Judith Clark said that: "Curating, though its ruthless selection inevitably creates new patterns of chronology.... It also encourages us to read time backwards, to read it from where we are standing, always in the present, acknowledging that this is our perspective" (162). Could this the connection I'm looking for - the part that makes the project relevant, fresh and alive?

It also brings to mind Walter Benjamin's concept of "Tigersprung", fashion's leap into the past to be reborn anew. In his work on Passangenarbeit otherwise known as The Arcades Project, Benjamin wrote "Fashion has the scent of the modern whenever it stirs in the thicket of what has been. It is the tiger's leap into the past" (qtd. in Lehmann 241).

This happenstance discovery feels like a metaphysical leap that expresses the eternal within the transient. Benjamin would describe that feeling as "Chock" - the "sudden realization of materialization of the metaphysical element in the world" (qtd. in Lehmann 227).


de la Haye, Amy and Judith Clark. "One Object: Multiple Interpretations". Fashion Theory 12.2 (2008):  137-170. Print.

Lehmann, Ulrich. "Tigersprung: Fashion in Modernity". MIT Press: Cambridge, 2000. Print.

Todd Lynn RTW Spring 2013 London Fashion Week

TODD LYNN's spring/summer 2013 collection -the safari inspiration was clear - from the primitive jungle soundtrack, to the pared-back khaki colour palette. Jackets were cropped, cinched and slit at the front, but retained the front-flap pockets that make this perennial piece so distinctive.

MOSCHINO CHEAP AND CHIC RTW Spring 2013 London Fashion Week

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