Street style… who knew this seemingly innocent fashion activity could cause such an industry hullabaloo. Esteemed journo Suzy Menkes wasn’t the first to voice her opinion over the now crazy extent of outfit photography overtaking international fashion weeks (or at least, the outside area of each showspace), but due to her standing within the biz, her words, published under the headline ‘The Circus of Fashion’ in NY Times’ T magazine just at the start of NYFW, led to rampant debate and kick-started a new mood for the months’ runway schedule ahead.
In spite of the conversation sparked by Menkes, 'peacocking' and the many-lensed following seemed bigger than ever this season - paps were even getting in on the act. The difference this February was that all show-goers were talking about it: asking the show buddy next to you whether they’ve seen <that> Menkes piece yet became an even more predicatable line than ‘how’s your fashion week going?’
Photographer Phill Taylor captures the fashion paps in Anna Dello Russo's Dior sunglasses!
Many of the internet’s major fashion players have voiced their opinions – Susie Lau of Style Bubble, disneyrollergirl’s Navaz Battiwala and Leandra Mendine of Man Repeller have all constructed intelligent responses – via, of course, their blogs:
"I do want to address this issue after fashion week hub hub has died down as I haven't quite figured how I feel yet but for now, I suppose I have nothing to do except to go right ahead and confirm Menkes' exact suspicions; that we are all peacocking, however much we doth protest. No outrage. No line of defence." Susie Bubble.
"Alas, Menkes does come across as slightly jaded in her disapproval. Flagging up the common practice of ‘bloggers’ (read: the Fashion Week style blogger elite) who get photographed in next season’s looks, often gifted by designers in exchange for coverage, she reminds us that real reporters don’t play the gifting game (or ‘bribery’ as she puts it). It’s a funny one I admit. On the one hand, why not help give young designers exposure by wearing their clothes, if it will give them a leg-up and boost your visual presence as well? On the other hand, when the pre- and post-show peacocking starts to get more attention than the shows themselves, then that clearly signals a change in how things are working. Is it dumbing down though? or is it just an evolution in how fashion is seen and consumed now?" Navaz Batliwalla.
"Where my opinion differs from Menkes’ rests in her perception of bloggers, both of the personal and street style variety. She writes that “the celebrity circus of people who are famous just for being famous” are most prevalently known for their blogs. It doesn’t seem quite fair to peg the bloggers that have actually become “famous” as such just for being famous. When I think Tavi Gevinson or Susie Bubble or Emily Weiss or on the street spectrum, Tommy Ton, I think recognition based on the merit of astounding work." Leandra Mendine.
All The Pretty Birds' Tamu McPherson gets snapped snapping designer Michelle Elie!
This week Garage magazine have posted a video entitled ‘Take My Picture’; a mini docu that features the balanced opinions of fashion and street style pros like Style.com’s Tim Blanks and Tommy Ton of Jak & Jil.
On the pro-street style team, Russian designer Vika Gazinskaya admits that her business may have not got off the ground if she hadn’t been so photographed wearing her designs. Whereas industry stalwart Tim Blanks senses that the phenomenon has reached its tipping point and that the reality TV-like result is creating “monsters”. Watch the video below and tell us, do you think street style has had its time in the sun? Are you keen for FROW to dress down and turn back into Suzy’s ‘black crows’ – instantly putting off the camera crews? Or do you love seeing the sartorial happenings of fashion’s most wanted? If not, what’s next?