Who’s next for the lion’s den?

Alber Elbaz at Lanvin

This is the last line from Suzy Menkes’s recent article about why the fashion world is on the edge of crashing. Some might say that has been the case for some time with big designer names taking magnificent falls from grace. Most sneer; fashion appears to be a gilded world but the reality is of course different.

As soon as I read about the sad departures of Alber Elbaz from Lanvin and Raf Simons from Dior it was difficult not to immediately think of Lee McQueen’s desperate passing and the mega-crash that was John Galliano from Dior. Fashion eats itself, not just in repeated and modified designs but through what started as season creep and is now a perpetual conveyer belt of collections. For a long time the simple seasons of Spring/Summer & Autumn/Winter have been surpassed for a relentless thirst for new designs and new markets. So really, what fashion is seeing is the product of this voracious business driven energy.

I adore fashion, I do. For a long time though I have disengaged from the more-than-seasonal conveyer belt of the new. Dressing for me is about classics – not in an old woman style but dressing to suit me, my personality, my dreams. As such I have no need for a flavour of new every other week; I do not haunt the high street, pore over weekly magazines in the hunt for the latest. That said, I realise I’m certainly not the target demographic for the business side of fashion.

However, if there is someone who has learned to save themselves from the lion’s den and march to their own beat then it is the well respected Azzedine Alaïa who only presents collections in standalone presentations, away from the fashion weeks, when he is ready. If only this sanity could be replicated in some way across the rest of the industry but for that to happen would mean a total reconceptualising of fashion as industry.

In the meantime, I dearly hope Elbaz takes some time to himself to recover, reflect and decide what to do next for himself. After all, no one thanks the lion’s fodder for sustaining the beast.

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