Fashion forward

The world of fashion is changing to become more user-friendly


So, the official fashion weeks have long passed (sob). Gone is the excitement that came with London’s 25th anniversary and Burberry’s much-anticipated return to British shores; the buzz is slightly wearing off after Chanel’s triumphant show in Paris (which featured a live performance from Lily Allen); and we are only slightly smirking now at Lindsay Lohan’s attempt as ‘creative director’ for Emanuel Ungaro. Closer to home, Harper’s Bazaar Arabia’s Fortnight of Fashion (which provided us with many a glamorous event) has been and gone, and so has Dubai’s very own fashion week. So what next?

There has certainly been a shift in the mood among fashion fans recently. Why? Because just when we thought things were looking up, many of our generation’s celebrated talents are facing bankruptcy. Famed fashion photographer Annie Leibovitz has reportedly had to pawn her life’s work in order to pay for a multi-million dollar lawsuit, while beloved Japanese avant-garde designer Yohji Yamamoto is believed to owe ‘the men in suits’ a cool US$67million (Dhs234.5million). Meanwhile, in the sandpit, we have seen many fashion editorial teams shrink and high-end boutiques are laying people off left, right and centre. It’s almost enough to put us off the Alexander McQueen boots we were swooning over on the spring/summer catwalk only a few short weeks ago – well, almost, but not quite.

But let’s try to turn those frowns upside down. All is not ill in fashion land. Ajman’s Sheikh Hassan bin Ali al-Naimi recently rescued haute couturier Christian Lacroix from administration and plans to boost the brand with products such as luxury jets, hotels and lavish palaces (note to Lacroix: let me know if you need someone to test them out). Another fashion posse smiling into their cornflakes are the bloggers, who seem to be flourishing in the face of adversity. The bigwigs (Garance Doré, Bryan Boy, ‘The Sartorialist’ Scott Schuman and Fashion Toast founder Rumi) all enjoyed the luxury of front-row seats at many important shows this season, with some designers even cunningly placing laptops on their chairs (just in case they felt inspired to blog mid-show).

The fashion world is changing, and while it’s scary, it’s also exciting. Okay, the change may have been brought on by the world’s depressing financial situation, but with crisis comes opportunity. The way we receive information is changing, too; I enjoyed Twitter this season, which featured live show updates and pictures, including from Dubai Fashion Week. In short, fashion feels like it’s opening up. It feels more creative, as if something is stirring. As Alexander McQueen aptly commented after live-streaming his show around the world (something that has never been done before), ‘This is the birth of a new dawn. There is no way back now. I am going to take you on journeys you’ve never dreamed were possible.’

Wouldn’t it be great if this mood change swept through Dubai? If the fashionistas here put down their predictable ensembles and tried something new? If the real young fashion talent in Dubai was able to shine through with help from funding? Here’s hoping…

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