Givenchy is not new at making fashion statements, but preceding the SS16 show next week, creative director Riccardo Tisci has made a habit to make those statements off of the runway.
The house is not only traveling across the pond to host their first stateside show in order to celebrate the opening of their new Manhattan store, but according to WWD, but is also opening the show to the public.
This move is unprecedented in fashion week; shows are usually characterized by, indeed the clothes, but also their exclusivity.
Twelve hundred “real people” mostly non-industry, non-celebrity civilians (no proof of Givenchy purchase required) as well as a cadre of students and faculty from local fashion schools — will attend, along with the usual show-going industry suspects.
Givenchy is working closely with the City of New York on this public-audience project. The house will allot most of the tickets — 820 of them — on a first-come/first-served basis to registrants at a Web site set up in partnership with nycgo.com, the City’s marketing office.
Givenchy is working with the City of New York to efficiently reach their public audience. From a pool of 1200, 820 tickets will be allotted on a first-come/first served basis, while another 280 have been set aside for students and faculty from Parsons, Pratt, FIT and the High School for Fashion Industries. The final 100 tickets will be distributed to residents in proximity to the to-be-announced show venue.
This new accessibility initiated by such an esteemed fashion house has the power to set a new precedent in the world of high fashion, to alter the course of an industry that is renowned for its association to socio-economic hierarchies.
Online shopping and fast fashion brand collaborations with high fashion houses have already begun paving the route towards accessible fashion—perhaps the runways are just catching up to the inevitable.
Would this accessibility dismantle the luxury taboo fashion so often carries by simply replacing the invitation-only gatekeepers with price tags?
High fashion is an art form that has barred the uninitiated since its introduction. But isn’t art supposed to be accessible to those who wish to admire it, not necessarily by price tag, but at the least by ability to experience?
What has made fashion any different from other presentations of artistic expression? Music concerts, theater performances, art galleries. Fashion shows quite naturally fall in the same categories. The presentation of a collection is a gorgeous blend of all of these art forms, a masterpiece that is unfortunately watered down by the time it gets to the public in the form of one-dimensional photos or YouTube videos. We lose the theatrical scene the creative director has set, the artful blends of fabrics and color palettes and prints and embroideries, the music that seamlessly threads that scene and the clothes together is lost in silent photographs.
The price tags are not the issue in fashion, rather it is the exclusion from the experience of it. We can view an original Picasso in a museum and then head to the gift shop to buy a print version that better suits my wallet. I take no issue to the value of a product that an artist has created from his soul to our reality. Thus, If my wallet will not accommodate the original Picasso, there are prints available to me in my price range. Luckily we have the Zara’s and H&Ms of the world giving us a worthy print version of Céline and Givenchy.
I am fond of the idea of having the same potential to gain access to my favorite designer’s show as I would to my favorite musician. Art, in whatever form it presents itself, is something to experience, not something to covet. And Tisci’s understanding that the general public is as capable of appreciating his work in its most artistic element as his privileged clientele and social circle is perhaps just the kind of endearing gesture high fashion could use.
Tickets to Givenchy’s September 11th SS16 show in New York City go on sale tomorrow at 10 a.m. via http://www.givenchynyfw15.com.