Feb 25, 2016
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Dior, Chanel and Hermès say no to 'see now, buy now'

Feb 25, 2016

The great names of French haute couture, such as DiorChanel and Saint Laurent said "no" to a possible modification of the Paris fashion show calendar, at a time when some brands wish to eliminate the time gap between their collections' presentation and their availability for sale.

Chanel - Spring/Summer 2016 - Haute Couture – Paris - © PixelFormula

The executive committee of the French Fashion Federation, grouping together the directors of Dior, Chanel, Hermès and Kering (owner of Gucci, Balenciaga and Saint Laurent) let it be known on Wednesday that it intends to preserve the current collection presentation format.

"Reversing the cycle and starting off with a commercial presentation would kill creativity," declared to daily paper Le Figaro the federation's President, Ralph Toledano.

His position is shared by François-Henri Pinault, CEO of Kering, who recently stated to the media that the fashion show is an integral part of the creative process, and the wait after it fosters "the generation of desire in the luxury world."

British brand Burberry, followed by Tom Ford, made headlines in the fashion world by announcing in early February that its catwalk shows would be made to coincide with the products' availability in-store, according to the principle of 'see now, buy now'.

"Let Burberry do what suits Burberry. As for ourselves, we will do what's appropriate for our brands," added Kering's CEO. Burberry will thus be waiving fashion's traditional calendar, according to which collections are presented approximately six months ahead of their availability in-store. The reason is that social media have changed people’s habits, making the time gap obsolete.

This decision comes when in the USA too the designers' council (the CFDA) is speculating whether there is a need to rethink the collections' calendar, now that fashion shows can be immediately viewed and commented the world over on social media.

In the eyes of French luxury labels, this approach, which involves listening too closely to consumers, goes against creativity, without mentioning the obstacles it creates in terms of manufacturing deadlines and the supply chain.

The Fashion Federation stated it has carried out a survey among its members, revealing that "no customer has ever complained for not being able to buy in-store a product seen on the web."

There are some who think that redesigning the system would allow nipping in the bud any imitations by fast fashion retailers such as Zara or H&M. However, Ralph Toledano assured that immediate availability of the products will stop nothing. "There is only one remedy for counterfeiting: devising products that are more difficult to imitate, creating value-added design."

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