These days, it seems like we can’t get through a fashion week season without a serious case of bad show etiquette rearing its ugly head. This time last year, we did a piece on people’s phone habits at the shows and the way they’ve apparently made them unable to applaud (and, you could argue, properly engage with a collection). It kind of says it all that we now have Hyperlapse, Instagram’s new time-lapse app, which crams a minute of video into fifteen, sped-up seconds. God forbid anyone should take the time to watch something properly.
Now we’ve arrived at the next depressing step: people leaving before a show has even finished. (Pushing and shoving their way out, of course, because fashion is chic like that.) On Monday night at Giles, his awesome cast hadn’t even made it halfway around the Dairy Art Centre venue during the finale before people were out of their seats, snatching their goodie bags and running out the door. It wasn’t a case of people being confused by the venue layout as to whether the last model had left the runway, since it had been obvious the whole way through the show that there were two rooms. Giles had taken his bow, yes, but people couldn’t be bothered to wait for the models to finish their lap of honour.
I can forgive journalists rushing backstage to get a quote from the designer before all hell and celebrity air-kissing break loose (I’ve been guilty of that, too), but Monday night’s scenario was shocking, unbecoming, and most of all rude. As Dazed editor Isabella Burley aptly summed it up after the show: “I hate the idea that designers work for six months on a show and people just disregard it because they’re so ‘busy’.”
While we wait for Debrett’s to put together a guide to what should be normal, common sense fashion show manners, the question becomes why this is happening. Yes, it sucks to be caught at the back of the venue when you want to get to your car to quickly do some work on the way to the next show and make it there on time. But if we’re dealing with an on-schedule show, the next one will generally wait until people from the one before have arrived. What do you know: PRs can actually check these things thanks to newfangled inventions like phones and the Internet.
I don’t think it’s the fear of being stuck in traffic that prompts the kind of behaviour we saw at Giles. Rather it’s that somewhere between the invention of real-time reporting, a fashion week schedule bursting at its seams and general modern-day ‘busyness’, we seem to have lost our ability to be normal, civilised human beings and just be. As we’re fed a steady stream of images, input and news that are all competing for our attention, our attention span is becoming shorter and shorter. So short, apparently, that we’ve already mentally checked out before the last model has disappeared backstage.