The Fashion Show Goes Live: Exclusive and Mediatized Performance
By Rebecca Halliday
Beginning with Alexander McQueen's infamous attempt to live stream his 2009 Plato's Atlantis collection on SHOWStudio, this book traces how digital and social media have disrupted social structures within the field of fashion, and transformed the way it is communicated and consumed. Analysing key case studies, from Chanel, Givenchy, Yeezy and Opening Cermony to interactive social media and 'see now buy now' campaigns from Burberry, Topshop and Tommy Hilfiger, The Fashion Show Goes Live analyses the mode and impact of fashion shows' transmission. Through the rise of experimental film, fashion shows tailored for media transmission and the use of live streaming and social media to render shows 'immediate' to consumers, fashion weeks – and fashion shows – have become not just trend barometers but material sites that demonstrate media's effects.
Rebecca Halliday evaluates the performativity of consumer relations to such live streams and other mediatized content. In linking these relations back to fashion show footage, she demonstrates that although intended to communicate fashion to mass audiences, these practices also promote it as exclusive and aspirational. Despite democratized, international access to content, the shows themselves remain elite events; kindling new forms of consumer attention, interaction, immaterial labour and desire.
Through the microcosm of the fashion show, The Fashion Show Goes Live asks broader socio-political questions about the effects of the fashion industry's mediatization, challenging the notion that new technology has fostered inclusivity.