For all of its innovation and lust for “new,” fashion isn’t immune from clinging to an institution that exists for little more than the sake of it, be it air kissing, stilettos or the very idea of fashion week.
A big shakeup to the status quo came in 1998, when Helmut Lang — then one of the industry’s coolest and, naturally, most imitated young stars — decided to not only show his spring collection in New York after years showing in Paris, but to show it first — before Europe, before anyone.
He pushed his presentation up six weeks in order to do so and didn’t ask anyone to approve or come along with him, but they did. First was Calvin Klein, who had also disliked the New York shows trailing Paris, London and Milan, and jumped at the chance to move, and then Donna Karan followed.
Although Lang’s move to New York Fashion Week wasn’t permanent — and he left the industry altogether in 2005 — his gutsy or, by some accounts, egotistical move effectively created the fashion week schedule as it is today, with New York shows first.
The idea of designers going rogue with their show timing was, although talked about