Covering the Fashions of the Times

Take in just a couple of stories about Paris Fashion Week and you might start to wonder what filters are being used to discern noise from news. Given the nature of the wall-to-wall-to-anywhere-else coverage, you could randomly spray paint a poncho, walk down any Paris street – and some self-appointed expert would write a blog post about it.

Worse, people like you and me might even give the post a serious read. Especially if it popped up on a Facebook or Twitter feed.

Though it’s tempting to expand upon this idea to rail about the vicissitudes of journalism (go ahead, Google it), it’s probably more fun to take a glimpse at how these kinds of events get covered and reported. And why the coverage, at least some of it, might perfectly suit the events themselves.

All the video that’s fit to mute

One web site, Paris Fashion Week, looks to serve as an unofficial/official command center. Run by the folks at, the Paris-focused site (which includes sister sites covering New York, Milan and London) has just about everything a style watcher needs to stay on top of trends that change by the microsecond:

  • A video collection of various runway shows takes center stage near the top of the home page. The degree to which these productions rely on elements such as music and lighting almost overpowers the fashion statements themselves. You could spend your whole lunch hour watching creatures from another planet sashay this way and that – and still not make it through the video library. And likely not have much of an appetite left, either.
  • A “Features” section includes stories on just about every topic imaginable, from Karl Lagerfeld’s designer sunglass frames to a new music release from Daphne Guinness. If you have to ask about either, you’re just not in the groove. And yes, she’s a direct descendent of the Irish beer maker.
  • The “Live Posts” section simply brought up the home page on a recent visit; so did the “Win Prizes” menu button. And this was still with one more day to go in the “Men’s and Haute Couture” part of the show. Either the fashionistas were sleeping on the job, or every story is considered both “live” and a “post”. They also could have run out of prizes.

Moving along to Fashion Week Dates, things start to look eerily similar. The video feed again appears near the top of the home page, and, like that on, the video feed automatically plays.

PFW’s featured a commercial with two girls wondering just how big something was that a guy bragged about via a cell phone text. One tells the other to tell the dude to send a pic. Horrified, the other girl says, “No!” Ding. A pic arrives anyway. Turns out to be a Carl’s Jr. cheeseburger. Advertising on a fashion web site – what will those crazy fast-food pushers think of next?

FWD’s site automatically played video of a runway show. With that annoying thumpy music that occasionally has a riff of three or four synthesized notes. And which should be piped into the cells at Guantanamo. Not to mention the offices of Congress. Oh, and please tell the android models that a neutral attitude helps show off the clothing; catatonic gets creepy really quickly.

What’s helpful, on both sites, are clean-ish designs that help users find what they’re looking for, usually pretty quickly. Neither looks to be particularly ad-heavy. So, unlike those glossy periodical novels that feature ads on 188 of 192 pages, you can find the actual story you’re looking for, accompanied by plenty of photos/multimedia.

Which might make the web coverage of these kinds of events better for the fashion purists. But not so much for shopaholics. Especially if you’re looking for that fragrance sample that will take a neutron bomb to remove from the atmosphere.

Manly coverage

Of course, the Internet at large has plenty of coverage of these kinds of events, ranging from the remotest outlying fashion blogger (who’s probably already written – sorry, posted — about whether there needs to be fashion bloggers) to the woman from Agence-France Presse whose story on men’s fashion trends at Paris 2013 wound up on the sports section page of the New Zealand outlet for Yahoo!

It gets better. Because the subject of the article was how men are supposedly going for a feminine feel in what they choose to wear. And it’s on a sports site in a country perhaps best known for its brutally scary rugby football team, the New Zealand All Blacks. Because every rugby fan wants to know that the next critical wave of fashion for men includes skirts and embroidery. Not to mention an ensemble (say that with a French accent…if you want to become Chum Down Under, that is) that consists, and we quote, of “a print dress, wrap skirt and black mini-dress worn over shorts.”

Hard as it may be to believe, it gets even better. As the erstwhile scribe goes on to say,

Accessories included oversized loop earrings and handbag-style gold lame iPad holders.

It’s really hard to top that for a kicker ending. Except perhaps to echo the sentiments of that French-accented cartoon character, Pepe Le Pew, the scraggly skunk who thought himself a fancy feline: “Savoir-faire is everywhere!”

Or not.

Image via UK in France / CC BY-ND 2.0

Pierce Mattie

Pierce Mattie is a full-service marketing agency that interacts with consumers and key stakeholders at every stage of the journey. With a focus in beauty, health and wellness, we are immersed in the marketing landscape, able to powerfully communicate a brand’s point of difference to acquire and maintaining customers. The content team is obsessed with what's trending in the digital world, and how it intersects with consumer behavior. We are passionate about the changing landscape of the world, including how emergent technologies affect brand attachment, how diversity and inclusivity are critical to success, and where humans fit into the equation.

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