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Fashion week cheat list 3 (1)

How to pretend you know what’s going on at fashion week

As creative directors switch roles and designers dismantle the fashion calendar, we provide a guide to the upcoming SS17 shows

Fashion is a bit of a mess right now. Designers have been playing a game not too far from musical chairs, switching jobs left, right and centre – so much so that it’s been hard to keep track of who’s designing where. Meanwhile, brands have started working to schedules different from the traditional, offering See Now, Buy Now collections. But what exactly does that mean? How is it going to change things? And why should you care? As New York Fashion Week kicks off tonight with shows from VFilesTom Ford and Kanye West, we’ve pulled together a guide to help you know what’s going on. Or at least sound like you know what’s going on. 

DIOR HAS FINALLY REPLACED RAF

When Raf Simons left Christian Dior last October, it sent a shockwave through fashion and sparked a furious debate over the breakneck pace of the industry and the impact that has on its designers. His role remained unfilled for close to a year until Maria Grazia Chiuri, former co-creative director at Valentino, was appointed as his replacement, becoming the first woman in history to serve as Dior’s creative director. There are various parallels between the Valentino and Dior – both are couture houses with an emphasis on feminity – but it will be interesting to see where Chiuri takes the house come September 30th.

ANTHONY VACCARELLO HAS MOVED TO SAINT LAURENT

Yep, the days of Hedi Slimane’s youth-infused Saint Laurent are over. The designer left the house in April and, the following day, his replacement was announced as Belgian-Italian designer Anthony Vaccarello who will make his debut for the house on the first day of Paris Fashion Week. While he and Slimane share a love for the colour black and certain indie-rock sensibility, Vaccarello is known for his sexy, body-conscious silhouettes and sexed-up aesthetic, and cites the queen of Italian glamour Donatella Versace as mentor. In the wake of his appointment; the house symbolically wiped the slate clean by deleting every image on its Instagram to usher in his new era which begins on September 27th.

BOUCHRA JARRAR IS MAKING HER LANVIN DEBUT

Among the comings and goings of 2016 was Alber Elbaz who left Lanvin after 14 years at the helm of womenswear. Controversy ensued as allegations emerged that Elbaz was pushed out by shareholders – reports which led to a breakdown in relations between the Lanvin staff and management, and later a lawsuit. In March, Elbaz’s replacement was announced as Bouchra Jarrar, a respected couturier with over two decades of experience at prestigious houses such as Balenciaga and Christian Lacroix. Jarrar has already presented her inaugural collection for the house – a clean, minimal Cruise offering – but will make her ready-to-wear debut on the second day of Paris Fashion Week.

NICHOLAS GHESQUIÈRE IS STAYING AT LOUIS VUITTON

Amid the many designer departures and arrivals came rumours that Nicolas Ghesquière was leaving Louis Vuitton. However, these allegations were quickly denied by the brand’s owner LVMH in an official statement which maintained that Ghesquière’s contract was not due for renewal until 2018. The designer has made a huge impact in his three years at the house, introducing his futuristic vision in the form of hyper-modern show locations, CGI campaign stars and an exhibition staged at London’s 180 Strand – the good news for fans of his forward-thinking aesthetic is that they still have a few seasons of his point of view to look forward to.

TOM FORD IS BACK ON THE RUNWAY

Tom Ford is one of the most influential names in contemporary fashion. The American designer first made headlines almost two decades ago when he gave then-failing luxury house Gucci a high voltage make-over but, more recently, he’s been attracting attention for shaking up the fashion calendar. While SS16 saw the designer abandon a show altogether (instead releasing a Nick Knight-lensed music video featuring Lady Gaga and Lucky Blue Smith), this season marks his return to the schedule. Tonight he’s presenting his AW16 (note, not SS17) menwear and womenswear collections at New York Fashion Week – both of which will be available to buy soon after the show.

KANYE WEST (THE FASHION DESIGNER) IS ALSO BACK

Last season’s New York Fashion Week saw Yeezy steal headlines with a gargantuan presentation at Madison Square Garden. It’s safe to say there hadn’t been a show like it – Naomi Campbell, Young Thug and thousands of street-cast models took over the arena as the Kardashian-Jenner clan watched on in custom Balmain x Yeezy. Streamed in cinemas around the globe, the presentation saw the premier of West’s new album The Life of Pablo and a fresh fusion of the music and fashion worlds. This season, the rapper and designer is yet to reveal anything about his next show – all he’s done is tweet an open casting call for ‘multiracial women wearing no make-up’ – a brief which has sparked controversy.

‘SEE NOW, BUY NOW’ IS HAPPENING AND IT’S KIND OF A BIG DEAL

Thanks to the internet and social media, we’re more connected – and impatient – than ever. This means that the current fashion system whereby collections hit the shop floors six months after making their debut on the runway, is making less and less sense. So, a number of designers are looking for ways to adapt – one of which is a new model that’s been dubbed ‘See Now Buy Now’, whereby collections are made available to buy immediately (or at least, shortly after) the show. One of these designers is Tom Ford, who postponed his AW16 show and is staging it today at New York Fashion Week SS17, meaning that he’s showing his autumn collection in autumn – which makes sense. He isn’t alone: last season Burberry, Michael Kors and Prada made parts of their collection immediately shoppable. These changes might sound business-y, but they represent a seismic shift in the fashion industry’s structure.

TOMMY HILFIGER IS STAGING A FASHION FUNFAIR

Tommy Hilfiger is a designer renowned for his elaborate sets – SS16 saw a traditional runway replaced by a fake coastal island, whereas his AW15 collection was presented against the backdrop of an American football pitch. Now, for his See Now, Buy Now AW16 collection, Hilfiger is building his own fashion funfair to showcase his collaborative collection with Gigi Hadid alongside his own work; according to WWD, fashion press and fans of the brand can expect stalls laden with pretzels and hot dogs as well as a 40 foot Ferris wheel constructed especially for Hilfiger at New York’s Pier 16.

MATTY BOVAN IS MAKING HIS LONDON FASHION WEEK DEBUT

Lulu Kennedy’s Fashion East initiative is responsible for launching the careers of designers such as Meadham Kirchhoff, J.W.Anderson and Gareth Pugh. Now, for SS17, Dazed 100 designer Matty Bovan will join Richard Malone, AV Robertson and Mimi Wade to show his collection under the Fashion East umbrella at the upcoming London Fashion Week. The Central Saint Martins graduate is renowned for his multi-coloured, multi-textured designs and his debut will undoubtedly inject LFW with a dose of fresh energy.