NEW YORK, United States — Looks like the increasingly busy couture season is about to shift into overdrive.
In a move that is sure to rock the New York fashion establishment, lauded American label Proenza Schouler is aligning its ready-to-wear collections with the couture calendar and moving its runway show to Paris, starting with the Spring 2018 season. The label’s Autumn/Winter 2017 runway show will take place as scheduled on February 13 at New York Fashion Week.
“After months of careful planning, Proenza Schouler is pleased to announce its decision to break from the traditional ready-to-wear calendar in order to pursue a business model more aligned to the realities of commerce today,” the company said in a statement released exclusively to BoF. It added that the location of the Autumn/Winter 2018 collection and subsequent seasons has not yet been confirmed.
“Currently a large percentage of the brand's sales are placed during the pre-collection market with the smaller balance going to the runway delivery, which, in truth, is the heart and soul of the Proenza Schouler brand. This shift in strategy will ensure that Proenza Schouler’s runway collection, including both ready-to-wear and accessories, will be the focus of buys and deliver to stores earlier, thus giving them a longer life at retail.”
This means that, starting in July 2017 with the Spring 2018 collection, designers Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez will consolidate their runway and pre-collection offerings (in the first instance, Resort and Spring) into one collection, shown to buyers and press twice per year instead of four times per year. To create newness in stores, the collection will be broken down into monthly deliveries, inspired by key themes or groupings communicated in the show.
This shift in strategy will ensure that Proenza Schouler’s runway collection will be the focus of buys and deliver to stores earlier.
Presenting in Paris is also an opportunity to connect more deeply with international editors and buyers in the lead up to the launch of the brand’s first fragrance in 2018, distributed in partnership with L’Oreal’s Luxe division, said the company. “This move to Paris will aid in achieving the company’s short and long-term goals, and enable the organisation to function in a way that is more aligned with the demands of the industry today,” the statement read.
Of course, Proenza Schouler is not the first brand to announce such a model. Vetements whittled its offerings down to two collections and aligned itself with the couture calendar at the beginning of 2016, while just last week Los Angeles-based label Rodarte announced its plans to move its ready-to-wear shows to Paris starting in February 2017 and align with the couture calendar beginning in July.
Where does this leave the major ready-to-wear fashion weeks?
Already, this season, Tommy Hilfiger, Rachel Comey and others have moved their shows to Los Angeles, creating yet another stop on the calendar. Will the leaders of the four most famous fashion weeks — New York, London, Milan and Paris — begin working more closely to create a global calendar that enables this kind of increased fluidity? At BoF’s VOICES gathering in December 2016, during a discussion between the heads of the world's four major fashion councils, there seemed to be openness to facilitating greater flexibility in where and how designers choose to present.
“It really comes down to whom you are trying to reach,” CFDA chief executive Steven Kolb said at the time, citing Givenchy’s show in New York in 2015, which was open to select members of the public, as well as Tommy Hilfiger’s upcoming Los Angeles effort. “There will always be fashion week and there will always be fashion shows. But we’ll see them being less about the unique personality of each city and more a global period of time that shows are happening.”
An earlier version of this article stated that the Autumn/Winter 2017 show would be Proenza Schouler's last at New York Fashion Week. This is incorrect. Proenza Schouler will be showing during Paris Couture for the Spring/Summer 2018 season, but the location of the Autumn/Winter 2018 collection and subsequent seasons has not yet been confirmed.