NYFW: Don’t Catwalk, Catpause

Presentations are becoming an increasingly popular way for designers to showcase their fashion collections.

There’s a slew of Fashion Week designers this year who are using their platform to push the boundaries and make a spectacle. Both traditional catwalks and modern presentations have their pros and cons, but presentations seem to be constructed for the age of Instagram.

The slower pace of presentations is a welcome break from the rush of Fashion Week. On runways, the models quickly strut by, which shows the movement of the clothes accurately, but does not allow time to question or savor. Fashion presentations give viewers time to mull over all of the looks, inspect the details and frame an aesthetically pleasing snapshot. But there’s more to these presentations than being able to get a high quality Instagram photo.

Designers create their own world when they organize a show. Their entire concept is applied to the set, hair, makeup and of course, the clothes. Tommy Hilfiger’s tropical escape for his Spring/Summer 2016 runway show, where he brought the sand and sea of the Caribbean island of Mustique to New York. The atmosphere affects how the collection is viewed. While many designers successfully create their atmosphere for the runway, the time spent by the guests is fleeting. Presentations provide guests ample time to be immersed in their surroundings and see the collection fully through the lens of the designer.

By allowing people to spend more time with the collections, the show becomes more of a communal experience. Moreover, this experience can be shared by larger audiences as the presentations run for several hours allowing people to come and go as they please.

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Presentations also offer more opportunity for hair stylists and makeup artists to be applauded for their work. Designers can utilize the hair and makeup to elevate the collection, which can really show during a presentation.

During this past New York Fashion Week for Spring/Summer 2016, Kate Spade, J. Crew and Alice + Olivia were just a few of the brands that held presentations.For Kanye West’s Yeezy Season 2 show, West chose to combine elements of both runway and presentation. The models marched onto the runway in a series of battalions, pausing at their marks for enough time to study the clothing.

While the traditional runway will never be replaced, alternatives are growing in popularity and rightfully so. Plenty of designers will showcase their collections through presentations this upcoming Fashion Week, and the audiences will not be disappointed.

A version of this article appeared in the Feb. 8 edition. Email Sophie Fay Shaw at [email protected]

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