Friday, March 2, 2012

FASHION WILL EAT ITSELF: PARIS GOES MENTAL

Posted by Melanie Rickey, Fashion Editor at Large

See all these people? They are outside one of Paris Fashion Week's most famous catwalk show venues in Paris, in the Tuileries Gardens. I've just come from watching the Sonia Rykiel show there.

Check out all the people with cameras in the bottom left of the image - in order to get from the gate of the Tuileries Gardens to the tent the show is in, show-goers, mostly industry professionals going about their daily work and minding their own business, have to dodge past these photographers. I reckon there are at now least 150 to 200 of them in total, and 90% of them are likely to be chancers who have set up a blog and want to be "in fashion" (if they actually know what that means) or worse still, they are weirdos who like taking pictures of young pretty women and models.

In the past the street-style photography scene has been a wonderful addition to the proceedings, but it is now out of control.


(image from http://concretemagazine.sjmc.umn.edu)

At the end of each show the "weirdos" as I have come to call them in my head; mainly sweaty, overweight late middle-aged men with multi-pocketed flak waistcoats on, aggressively heckle models and elbow each other to get closest to them and then attack them with flashbulbs. All these girls are doing is trying to leave the show, find their next appointment, have a cigarette, take a breather, whatever. They are off duty, they can do what they want. Today a photographer elbowed a model in the back so hard she winced in pain; I saw another one make a girl cry because he would not leave her alone.

Now imagine a crowd bigger than this shoe-horned into a tiny side street. On the way into the Dior show today at the Rodin Museum, the slender street the entrance of the museum is on was utterly mobbed with above crowd of "street-style photographers" - in reality there are no more than 15-20 very good and reputable ones - and hangers on. The atmosphere outside that show was scary. Police were trying to control the crowd; there were crash barriers, traffic was at a standstill, people shouted, cars beeped. It was not only chaos, but dangerous. 

This is not what Paris Fashion Week should be about. Sure there are a few women who play the street-style game and further their careers by being photographed - fair play to them, they are consenting adults. But those of us who would like to get on with their jobs without this hassle have no choice but to face a picket line for each show. Why can't there be an area for street-style pictures to be taken? A sign saying  "if you want to be photographed, please go this way". 

When I lifted a copy of T magazine to cover my face as yet another lens was shoved into it this afternoon, the photographer called me a "fucking bitch" and told me I looked better with my face covered. When it comes to being attacked for being attacked by a camera, don't you think something is seriously wrong here? We are talking about fashion shows and people who go to fashion shows

The people who organise Paris Fashion Week need to sort something out. 



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