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Snapshot: Fashion Week

Author: Lise Skov


In the late twentieth century, fashion week became the standard name for biannual or annual trade fairs and fashion shows. For high-end designers’ biannual presentations, the term collections has been widely used; for example, the Paris Collections or the Tokyo Collections, and the Moscow fairs that started in 2002 are identified by the abbreviation CPM (Collection Première Moscow, organized by Igedo). Trade fairs have been known by a number of different names; in the 1970s, Hong Kong Fashion Week was called a Ready-to-Wear Festival. Sometimes events are named after their sponsors, such as the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week New York (Mercedes Benz also organizes fashion weeks in Los Angeles, Miami, Berlin, and, until 2006, Sydney) or L’Oreal Fashion Week in Toronto. Fashion weeks bring together several different activities in the span of typically four to ten days. In exhibition grounds, temporary booths are occupied by companies that present new clothing samples with their order books ready. On the catwalk, designers and brands launch new collections in a tight choreography of parading models, loud music, and bags with sponsored gifts for the most important people in the audience. In addition to designers’ individual fashion shows, group shows also occur in the fashion show schedule, including trend shows, which present a single statement for the whole fair based on garments from selected exhibitors, and talent contests for young local designers. At a fashion week, everything is ephemeral; the booths and the catwalk are dismantled when the crowds that populated the fairgrounds have gone back to their everyday business.

This is an abstract of an article from the Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. The full article is available in the Berg Fashion Library.

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