The children have entered the room
The team has returned from Air New Zealand Fashion Week, with mostly good news, but heard a few tanties from around the industry. It’s interesting, because I could have sworn that when I corresponded from the same event many years ago, there were mostly adults there, and we, in the L’Oréal Powder Room, negotiated important deals that would see us through the next 12 months.
What I hear are things along the lines of ‘X doesn’t like Y because Y cheated on his wife’, ‘You were excluded from the show because you took Z’s side four years ago’, and, my favourite one, ‘You [as in yours truly here] rattled their staff on issue A,’ which is laughable considering I never spoke to the person on issue A.
Gossip is not my forté, which is why the parties remain unnamed (and I am not stupid enough to name people based on hearsay), but in many of these cases, it shows great hypocrisy and childishness on the part of some fairly major (by New Zealand standards) names. In the last case, it shows that the company is not only unprofessional, but breeds liars who are quite happy to validate their boss’s dislike of me personally—which should have no bearing, given that person’s own statements in the media about how one must separate the person from the company, on the Lucire staff. In the second case, it illustrates the Vogel’s TVC point rather well: ‘It was a year ago, Michael. Let it go!’ except one year is four years; and the ﬁrst … well, OK, the ﬁrst I actually can appreciate. I’m with X and exclude him from my criticism.
I know the industry always had a tanty, immature element to it, but certainly in those early years of New Zealand Fashion Week, I remembered we were all working toward an end, and there was plenty of unity. And if we, as a nation, are prepared to play games, then we don’t deserve a lot of success.
I hear stories like this from other cities, too, but they usually relate to the queuing, PR interns or the gatecrashers, which is the usual story at fashion week, whether in New York, London or Paris—Milano I am a bit of a neophyte on, and I have limited Italian, and I have a mate covering from the photographic pit only there this season.
Fortunately, this rogue element is a minor thing among the entire craziness of the week in New Zealand. What is disturbing is how it has surfaced more during a tough economic year. Is the lack of money leading to a lack of professionalism, as the PRs are farewelled for an in-house attempt at running a fashion show? Are we now seeing the true colours of some of our designers?
For the most part, the spirit of Kiwi can-do holds true, and that positive element is what we need to focus on. Those who don’t play games obviously have the type of brands we want to champion in our publications. Those are the ones who are truer to what they say they stand for. I called up folks at Zambesi, Alexandra Owen and other labels and had that lovely treatment that this was an old friend calling. The overwhelming majority of fashion labels conducted themselves professionally and admirably. Some amazing things are happening in New Zealand.
Those who prefer to be silly: I’m afraid we are too darned busy to accommodate them. It’s not a type of ‘I’ll shove back now’ reciprocity, but, if I wanted to deal with children, I would have some. Or I’ll visit those friends who have kids and play hide and seek or read Dr Seuss. Whatever.
I’ve been around too long and watched too many fashion weeks worldwide to know that the childish ones always fall by the wayside: New York, the other city where I have coordinated fashion week coverage regularly, is littered with them.
Perhaps I should look at restarting a fashion festival here in Wellington? (No, that’s not a campaign promise. It’s a topic for discussion.)
No, I’ll just wait for the Milano shots for now. First things ﬁrst. Posted by Jack Yan, 12:21
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