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Backstage at MSGM AW16Photography Martina Ferrara

Why one designer banned Instagram at his Milan show

In a radical move, MSGM’s Massimo Giorgetti asked show attendees not to post any pictures on social media

The proliferation of social media has radically changed the landscape of contemporary fashion – from Instagram ‘It’ girls being signed to agencies and landing major ad campaigns, to influencers being valued according to the number of followers they have as opposed to their levels of expertise or years of experience. Fashion images – be they magazine covers or images from runway shows – are seen first, and by the greatest audience, on Instagram and other platforms like Facebook and Twitter. Social media has, in many respects, become fashion’s frontline.

Today, however, one designer has rejected this. Ahead of his Milan Fashion Week show, styled by Dazed’s creative director Robbie Spencer,  MSGM’s founder and creative director Massimo Giorgetti included the following message with his invitations: “We kindly ask you not to post any pictures of the show on social media.” Naturally certain audience members ignored the memo and happily snapped away, but the majority followed the rule, resulting in a show that could actually be absorbed as opposed to mindlessly documented with an iPhone camera. 

Although Giorgetti is also the designer behind Emilio Pucci, he chose not to enforce the same ban at the brand’s recent AW16 show, instead choosing to test the strategy only at MSGM. Speaking on the rationale behind this move, Giorgetti explained “I think in fashion we need to take a pause, to think of what is happening in the fashion world. We need to look with our eyes, not [with our phones].”

While Giorgetti is in the minority of designers rejecting social media, he isn’t the first to do so. Tom Ford banned mobile phones from his SS12 show to ensure that no-one would tweet any pictures from it. More recently, Dazed 100 designer Richard Malone did the same at his AW15 show which was staged in the reception-less venue of Old Street underground station. “I banned all photography within the space,” he told us. “It’s not about Instagramming or being ‘cool’, it’s about the clothes and an experience. I don’t want my clothes to be a catalyst for people’s selfie-taking.”

As for Giorgetti’s collection, this season the former DJ famed for citing different musical movements as inspiration looked instead to the art world. Backstage, he cited three artists in particular as inspiration: Betty Woodman, Antonio Lopez and Ursula Hertz Stenberg. These references resulted in a collection defined by its bold colour palette and incorporation of polka dots, stripes and painterly prints. Giorgetti’s ethos is unique, allowing editors and buyers to absorb the clothing and its references without distraction. Whether or not his anti-social media stance is something that catches on, we’ll have to wait and see.