What is the purpose of fashion shows?

I’ve seen clips of many big fashion shows on TV with the huge names in fashion present, and all of them are united in showing off clothes that are completely impractical to wear. Do people actually buy these clothes and then wear them somewhere? If not, what’s the point of the show?

It’s all just publicity, to keep the designer’s name out there in the press and with the buyers–and it’s all very silly, as you can see.

In the old days–early- mid-20th century–the fashions shows were very, very high-end, but still wearable. The sort of things the Duchess of Winsdor and Babe Paley would buy, and then the stores would do cheaper knock-offs for real people.

Then everything went crazy in the 1960s (I blame the 1960s for everything). “Real” shows are sometimes still held for buyers–more often, designers go directly to the stores’ buyers themselves. And the “fashion week” shows are nothing but performance art. I don’t know why they can’t show clothes human beings would actually wear, I think they’d get much better press.

Odd, I credit the 1960s for everything. :slight_smile:

Fashion simply looks best when hung on a hanger. Since hangers don’t move, emaciated models are the next best thing.

Spain just got its designers to ban models who are too emaciated. (With a BMI under 18.5. That’s about 5’9" and 110 lbs.) Maybe we’ll get back to a point where fashion and women overlap.

Much of it is considered art. Style.com has a lot of the recent NY fashion shows. “Couture” fashion tends to be a little more outrageous; though there are plenty of wealthy women who wear couture to balls and parties. (note the suits and hats at the Kentucky Derby) If you pick up and leaf through a Town and Country magazine you will find a lot of the flashy couture being worn by high society ladies. And Cher.

“Ready to wear” makes the stores mostly unchanged from the catwalk. (Sometimes with less sheer fabrics or slightly longer hem lengths) Check out Calvin Klein, Donna Karan, and Vera Wang- these designers make familiar and flattering designs most seasons. I am one of those freaks who lives for the Fall fashion shows every year but I have to shop Bluefly (slightly off-season bargain online store) or sew in order to wear most of their work.

I remember seeing some TV report that the real profit is made on designer merchandise, purses and perfumes and such with the designer’s name slapped on it. The goofy fashion shows exist to keep the image alive, not to sell the demonstrated outfits.

Maybe not. The overwhelming majority of Americans do not wear particularly fashionable clothes–certainly nothing splashy enough to wow the international media and look devastating as it flutters down a runway. The casualness of American society has spelled death to fashion. Outside the narrowest sliver of society, it hardly exists and most anything that looks good on a runway is far, far removed from real lifestyles.

Fashion must have drama to capture the eye of the media. A tall, razor-thin, exotic-looking female model is going to achieve this far better than your average 5 foot 3 inch, 145-lb. woman.

The purpose of fashion shows is to demonstrate to novice females the art of walking with each foot precisely in front of the other without looking like you’ve got arthritis of the hip.

Well, you got to give them this - they show clothes not meant for humans on models who don’t look human any more.

Looking at the pictures in the Times this week didn’t exactly arouse any desires in me. As far as I can tell, there is one pair of legs that get switched between models. (And not a well designed pair either.)

I suppose that if the performance art gets good reviews, someone will buy something these people design, if not the stuff that gets shown. But I do suppose showing this kind of thing cuts down on the knockoffs.

You two realise that the topic of realistic clothing is talking about the clothing, not the women. There are real thin women in the world, but there isn’t anyone who is going to wear a see-through orange, silk pancho to school and work.

Speak for yourself. I’m wearing mine right now.

Gee, this is embarassing…

That’s funny. My MIL just got back from the Calvin Klein show in New York. She and her friend (who has more money than God) had front row seats and I was just talking to them about the silliness of the whole thing. The venue wasn’t that posh. Neither the models or the clothes would be something you would want to have on you either. Both are too fragile and outlandish. It is just an established scene to keep certain names in the press. From what I understand, the designers lose money on the deal in a direct sense. Chock it up to another silly tradition, the likes of which have occurred in every culture since time began.

Do “regular” clothing lines have fashion shows? Like GAP or Old Navy or even the Sears/KMart brand?

I think I’ve seen mention of Lane Bryant/Venezia shows. Lane Bryant, if you don’t know, is a mall store with decent fashion for large women.

Would these sort of shows be more hum-drum, industry, buyers-for-retailers-only affairs? Or do stores just get catalogs and pick-and-choose?