How Front Row At Fashion Week Became The Hottest Ticket In Luxury
The intermingling of the streetwear and high fashion worlds has changed the fashion landscape about as dramatically as it ever has.
The collections of Louis Vuitton, Off-White and Dior feel more accessible than ever before, while fashion week in just about every major city is less of a trade show than it is a cultural festival.
It's a place where the young and the beautiful meet to, quite simply, be young and beautiful, in a display of culturally appropriate peacocking that's grown to the extent where one's online clout can be made or broken simply by getting your picture taken hanging around outside the right show.
As ever, where there's online rep to be had, there's money to be made, and with the rise of fashion week becoming seen as the place to be for everyone from A-list celebrities to world-famous athletes, more and more people are trying to figure out ways to get in on the action, regardless of whether not they've been invited.
New reports from within the fashion industry are beginning to shed light on the third-party deals that are being made to get high-paying bidders into the normally invite-only shows being thrown by some of the world's most desirable fashion brands.
Numerous events companies, many of which specialise in providing other VIP experiences, claim that this is becoming increasingly common, especially during fashion week.
Speaking to WWD, Beverly Sambrotto, founder of Your VIP Pass, which arranges access to events such as the Rockefeller Center Tree Lighting and Times Square New Year’s Eve gala, said the secondary market for fashion week tickets “does exist and $3,500, that is what tickets go for. Those prices would be for major, major designers. Some tickets are quite high.”
Another, New York-based Total Management, says it works directly with IMG to acquire fashion week tickets that it sells as part of its luxury fashion getaway packages — even though IMG actually claims they don't sell any third-party tickets to shows, period.
“IMG does not sell tickets to NYFW: The Shows, and the sale of tickets to shows by third-party brokers is prohibited,” a spokesman said. “In select cases, we do work with external companies and our partners to create hospitality experiences for NYFW, which may include access to shows at the discretion of our team.”
Now, this isn't to say that the practice is entirely a shady one, and some designers in fact, trying to make the world of high fashion a little more accessible to the masses.
Fashion aficionados may remember Kanye West selling tickets to the launch of one of his YEEZY collections in Times Square — something 2015, while Riccardo Tisci put up 1,200 tickets for the Givenchy show at NYFW in 2015. While they didn't get the chance to mingle with the a-listers in the front row, 1,200 people took up the offer.
Even more directly, both Mary Katrantzou and Alice Temperley actually sold front-row tickets for their respective F/W19 shows, with prices ranging from $4,500 to almost $10,000 a pop. For many people, though, the chance to get that selfie with a Lewis Hamilton or an A$AP Rocky may be worth the cost.
The question now remains as to just how much Fashion Brands are willing to take further steps into opening up. The likes of Kim Jones and Virgil Abloh have revitalised Dior and Louis Vuitton by making it a brand that feels accessible, both culturally and from a wearability standpoint, to just about everyone who can afford it.
But what is high fashion without an air of exclusivity? Brands certainly aren't going to risk alienating the clients who spend thousands in pre-orders simply because they're on a very, very shortlist of people that can.
Regardless, as the older set moves into the background and fashion becomes more based around the broader social reaction to what people are wearing and designing, the still very-heavy curtain that veils fashion week may have to be swapped out for something a little more transparent.