New York, London, Milan, and Paris share a beautiful bond: fashion. Known as the big four cities of Fashion Week, these trend-setting capitals tell the world what to wear two times a year in a seven-day parade of vibrant vesture. The history behind this weeklong media event is long and storied. From the throes of war to the needs of the modern fashionista, Fashion Week, as people know it today, had a long and interesting evolution.
Charles Frederick Worth starts a trend
It is not surprising that the concept of showing collections of clothes on live models originates in the salons of Paris. Back in the mid-1800s, Charles Frederick Worth pioneered the concept. He showed select clients a series of designs in what he called fetes.
Not long after, Worth helped found the ChambreSyndicale de la Confection et de la Couture pour Dames et Fillettes, a precursor to the modern Paris Chamber of Commerce, the body that now regulates the legal use of the term "haute couture". Worth's Chambre began the first formal attempt to promote the Parisian fashion scene and, in many ways, set the stage for French dominance in the industry for the next 100 years.
Eleanor Lambert invites the press
Although the concept of showing styles, particularly within stores and salons throughout the world, continued to develop through the early 20th century, much of the industry remained based in Paris. When World War II resulted in U.S. travel restrictions to Vichy, France, in the 1940s, the American fashion industry finally came into its own.
With designers and press stranded stateside, publicist Eleanor Lambert, took matters into her own hands and organised an event in New York dubbed Press Week. American designers and fashion journalists came together and admired non-French ideas for the first time, and the show was so successful that Vogue began to regularly highlight American fashion innovation. Press Week repeated each season from then on, eventually changing its name to Fashion Week.
Fashion Week of today
Today, Fashion Week happens twice a year in the big four cities, including New York, London, Milan, and Paris, in that order. However, the big four just scratch the surface of Fashion Week in the 21st century. There are more shows and more cities added each year that infuse volume, interest, and creativity into the industry.
The big four shows
The New York, London, Milan, and Paris Fashion Weeks take place twice per year, once for the autumn/winter collection and once for the spring/summer collection. These shows happen several months before each season in order to give journalists, retailers, and fashion lovers the opportunity to preview designs and plan ahead.
Although most popular designers create both men's and women's collections, the main focus at Fashion Week is always on women's clothing. Therefore, the shows that most people associate with Fashion Week, the autumn/winter shows that take place from February to late March in Paris and the spring/summer shows that occur from September to late October, showcase the women's collections only. The menswear shows happen in January and June respectively, immediately followed in Paris only by the haute couture shows.
In order to cover all areas of the industry and keep public interest focused on fashion between formal seasons, the phenomenon of inter-season shows developed in the late 20th century. Without a set schedule, inter-season sessions seek to predict the major trends for the coming big shows and expand the concept of wardrobe to include more specific pieces. These shows include the Resort/Cruise and Pre-Fall lines, and they take place before the spring/summer and autumn/winter shows respectively.
Alternate city shows
Lesser-known fashion cities have jumped on the bandwagon as well. Spanning from Tokyo and Sydney to Egypt, Qatar, and Malta, these shows repeat much of what debuts at the bigger Fashion Weeks as well as showcase local designers and trends.
Miami and Rio Fashion Weeks, for example, focus on wedding dresses and couture designs each year.
How to buy Fashion Week styles on eBay
The best part of the Fashion Week schedule is the advanced notice it gives to buyers who can then stock up for the coming season. It is easy to explore the latest Fashion Week styles on eBay, where sellers offer designer garments that are on the cutting edge of fashion trends. This includes everything from over-the-top ball gowns to simple T-shirts in the season's hottest colours, patterns, or textures. Type keywords into the main search box describing what you want, and browse the results for your next big fashion find.