I have never gotten up and just walked out on a fashion show. On Tuesday, I RAN out of the Calvin Klein collection even before the runway show began. But it had nothing to do with the clothes.
No joke--the line for the Calvin Klein runway show was two blocks long. I'm not going to complain about having to wait in high heels in the middle of a busy sidewalk for a show-- I'm lucky to have a job that allows me to attend fashion shows and write about them! But indulge me for a minute here--2 blocks outdoors in humidity and rain with a mass of angry fashion folk is not a pretty picture. It gets worse. Once the line made it up to the non-air-conditioned tent to check in--we were given standing room tickets.
Clearly the retail executives and top fashion mags must have key seating. The rest of the press were lined up in the back of the room. Now I understand this when someone RSVP's late or when a crowded show fills up. But after the 40 minute long line, I was done. It felt like a cattle call not the cool, clean Calvin vibe.
I don't know that attendance levels are necessarily an indication of sales or brand popularity. Often at fashion week the attendees are there for the theatre and not necessarily for the business. However, keep in mind that this was the SECOND showing of the collection. There was already a showing at 4 pm for clients, etc. The 5 pm show (the one whose line I am blogging about) brought in this crowd!
Anyhow, Phillips Van Heusen is usually top notch when it comes to coordinating events. Their CEO Manny Chirico is a straight talking executive who loves discussing the business. When I spoke with him 2 weeks ago he told me that fashion week is worth the marketing exposure and serves as a tentpole for the luxurious image of the label. (He also walked me through the new Ellis Island themed ad campaign for the Arrow brand--but that's for another blog.)
Keeping the Calvin Klein image true to its roots is key to keeping sales strong. It is especially important since PVH doesn't own all of the CK licensing. Manufacturer Warnaco owns a share of the CK pie and international sales have been a bolster to WRNC's bottom line.
Anyhow, remind me next year NOT to go to the Calvin Klein show and to just wait for the images to be released!
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