See now, buy when? Catwalk-to-shop retail model divides brands

Fri Mar 11, 2016 6:11am EST
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By Marie-Louise Gumuchian and Li-mei Hoang

MILAN/LONDON (Reuters) - With minutes until show time, a group of seamstresses are adding the final touches to designer Ermanno Scervino's latest creations to be unveiled on the catwalk.

Embellished coats, mosaic print suits and lace dresses are among the outfits the Italian designer is presenting at Milan Fashion Week. It will be months before they hit the shops.

With the amount of craftsmanship involved, Scervino says his clothes take time to make and he has no plans to follow other labels selling their items straight off the catwalk, effectively bridging the traditional six-month runway-to-retail gap.

"I think that it is not for me, it is not for (products of) excellence," Scervino told Reuters. "We have long (designing) time frames. I am not interested."

The recent autumn/winter 2016/2017 fashion weeks in New York, London, Milan and Paris have seen designers divided over retail models some labels are adopting to put their items immediately on sale after their catwalk presentations.

In an age of social media - where fashion shows are streamed online - and with competition from high street retailers regularly updating their collections, Britain's Burberry and designer Tom Ford announced new "see now, buy now" strategies last month.

"If we are Instagramming, live-streaming and showing the collections, we can't expect a customer and a consumer to tie in with a traditional kind of calendar," Burberry Chief Executive Christopher Bailey said.

"So I do think we all need to evolve and change but I don't think that there's one rule that fits everybody."   Continued...

Diane von Furstenberg Fall/Winter 2016.

REUTERS/Andrew Kelly