FGI’S WEBINAR: With fashion month in full swing, The Fashion Group International has released its latest Webinar, “Beyond the Runway.”

The recording features a dialogue between FGI creative director Marylou Luther and New York City membership committee chair Donnella Tilery, in which Luther discusses the “trends, fads and game-changers” in today’s industry. Luther, who also writes a weekly column for FGI, was approached by the organization to pilot the Webinar, part of the organization’s ongoing mission to attract more awareness and raise viewership of FGI.org. Quickly agreeing (“Anything for FGI,” she said), Luther prepared her talk, based around the idea of outside influencers on the world of fashion. A key example — and in keeping with the organization’s name — that Luther expands upon is viewing American fashion as an international business.

This story first appeared in the September 24, 2014 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

“In 2008, when the economy was terrible, I thought that it was kind of amazing the number of designers showing glitzy, opulent, ‘look at me’ clothes,” she said. “And then I thought, ‘I think I know why.’ It’s because so many designers now have stores all over the world. So in [places like] Rio and Dubai, they wanted ‘look at me’ clothes, where American designers used to design just for Americans in the United States. It’s a much more complex world now. Donna Karan wants buy-now, wear-now, and that makes sense, but it depends where you are buying and where you are wearing.”

The Webinar was recorded just a few days before the official kickoff of New York Fashion Week, but many of Luther’s points are applicable to the just-seen collections. “There used to be three elements to fashion: silhouette, fabric and color, but now there is another element: what designers do to fabrics,” she said, citing past-season examples of Chanel’s concrete embroidery, Yeohlee’s rubberized felt and Joanna Mastroianni’s “hand shredded, shirred and beaded silk organza.”

This season, Luther saw that element in the form of pattern manipulation. “There was a lot of ingenuity in fabrics,” she said. “I was kind of amazed at the amount of gingham and what designers did with checks and stripes. Designers did very creative things to something that sounds old and passé.” “Beyond the Runway” is available for streaming now though Sept. 30 on FGI.org. Access to the video costs $20 for FGI members and $36 for nonmembers.

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