In this morning’s WWD writer Jacob Bernstein poses an interesting question about whether or not fashion’s intense global exposure takes away a bit of the mystique that made it so interesting for so long.
It’s certainly a valid point. But not one that I think that I can come down on one side or the other on. Certainly, part of what drew me into the world of fashion and magazines as a kid growing up in Indiana was the apparent exclusivity of the club. Well, that along with the beautiful people wearing the beautiful clothes in the beautiful photographs.
But these are different times. Obviously (and thankfully, considering how I earn my living) there’s the internet. But the article also cites reality television (Project Runway, The Rachel Zoe Project, ANTM), documentaries like Valentino: The Last Emperor and The September Issue, and even the photography of Terry Richardson and Juergen Teller as giving the world an actual look in on our little world. Kate Betts said, “Fashion used to be a much smaller and more insulated business,Then it became more of a global business and now it’s in many respects a part of the entertainment business.”
This is true. And it’s served many, many people’s businesses well. But again, how much can the “outside” world know about the inner workings of the industry before it becomes just another boring business? How much mystery do you think we need to hang onto? Or is it better to just see the Wizard?
Sometimes I wish I didn’t know all the things I knew about how this crazy fashion and magazine world worked, and could just be a wide-eyed admirer again. But I also hate being naive, so I’m also glad I do know that, say, celebrities get paid to sit at fashion shows or that most models who “win” reality shows really never work all that much, and every other more nitty-gritty piece of knowledge that falls in-between those broad topics.
But as marketer Steve Stoute told WWD Every time you unveil an industry, and use media to do it, people say, ‘The magic is gone. You’ve shown too much. But no one can crack the code for why Karl Lagerfeld has done what he’s done. You can show people where to buy the fabrics, you can show them how to sew, but magic only happens when there’s talent. Tom Ford is magic. Valentino is magic. Karl Lagerfeld is magic.”
What do you guys think? Do you want to know everything? And even if you, fashion-obsessed and often industry folks do, should the rest of the world too?