NEW YORK — Rebecca Minkoff, the guinea pig in staging a consumer-facing fashion show during New York Fashion Week featuring in-season spring merchandise, is mapping out logistics for the February show.
According to Uri Minkoff, chief executive officer, the company will present a revised, edited and expanded show of the spring collection, along with a sprinkling of pre-fall. He acknowledged that retailers have seen some of the looks before, but the company will add its ath-leisure collection, and some summer items that no one has really seen. The show, which will feature a live band, will take place on Saturday, Feb. 13, at noon, most likely at Skylight Clarkson Sq. The venue is expected to seat around 500 people, one-third of whom will be everyday consumers.
Starting Feb. 11, Minkoff will host appointments at its showroom to present the fall collection to buyers so they can make purchases. The fall line will be shown to the media in March after the European shows, said Minkoff.
Whether consumer-facing shows will become a reality is currently a hot topic under discussion. Last month, the Council of Fashion Designers of America said it has retained the Boston Consulting Group to evaluate a possible move to more intimate presentations to the trade, and larger production shows that are consumer-facing and more closely aligned with retail deliveries. The move is part of an effort to improve full-price selling at retail. The results of the BCG survey are slated to be revealed in about seven weeks. Minkoff is expected to be among those surveyed by the BCG.
The study will take an in-depth look at the way fashion shows operate today, with the aim of fixing what many industry experts consider a broken system that confuses consumers. Collections are hyped on social media months before they’re actually in the stores and by the time the consumer sees them at retail, she is often bored by them.
Minkoff, who revealed his consumer-facing show a day before the CFDA’s announcement last month, said he’s received a lot of support from retailers. “The reaction has been fabulous,” said Minkoff, who said that he’s heard from buyers who want to make sure their spring buys are correct and have asked whether the designer will be showing things on the runway that they might have missed in their order. He said he doesn’t feel that the company is doing double the work since they would normally have a fashion show and simultaneous showroom appointments, although normally both efforts would be for the same collection.
For Minkoff’s fashion show, the audience comprises some of its top customers from their stores and Web site, social fans who are enthusiastic about the brand, and a certain number of customers selected by department and specialty stores. “They’ll pick their customers of choice,” said Minkoff, adding that they could offer a sweepstakes or some sort of contest. Bloggers and magazine editors will also be invited. Minkoff is still figuring out whether the consumers will sit with their respective store representatives or not. He said it hasn’t been decided who would foot the bill for out-of-town customers attending the fashion show. Consumers may pay for a unique experience themselves or a store could perhaps fly two or three winners into town.
Minkoff likes the time and date the company has selected since it allows the consumers to fly in. “Noon on a Saturday is very friendly to a consumer,” he said.
Designers have been bucking the system to make their fashion shows more closely aligned with their needs. Last month Tom Ford canceled his runway presentation in favor of one-on-one appointments with press and buyers. He revealed plans to host “intimate” presentations during New York Fashion Week on Feb. 18. Proenza Schouler took a firm stand in December when the designers said they would not release any pre-fall imagery or sanction outside photography and short-lead reviews of their collection until the clothes, shoes and bags begin to hit the stores around April. Silas Chou’s daughter Vivian took a majority stake in Thakoon Panichgul’s company last month, with plans to turn it into a show-now, see-now, buy-now, wear-now brand. Last season, both Givenchy and Rag & Bone offered opportunities for consumers to attend their spring 2016 shows. And Jeremy Scott has been making looks from his Moschino shows immediately available in the Italian brand’s stores after the show.