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Monday, September 28, 2009
Elle Fashion Week tightens its belt
The Fashion Week season is marching on. New York and London were done. Milan is on the run. Paris will begin tomorrow.
During the past three years since the our favourite local fashion jamboree that is Elle Fashion Week has been rescheduled from early November to mid-October, I remember the final week of September, just a few days before the start of Paris Fashion Week, as the time when a few fashion writers and many other social scene journalists (Yes, here in this country which once aspired to become a fashion hub, fashion reports are part of ‘society and women news’) would be summoned to the press conference for Elle Fashion Week.
The late-September fashion ballyhoo had been a key ceremonial prologue to the EFW. I really want to give a toast to those working on this annual, recurrent event for coming up with a new idea to discuss during the press conference year after year although the message is practically the same. When and where will it take place? Who are the participating designers? And most specially, what special treat can people expect? As Elle Thailand’s editor-in-chief Kullawit Laosuksri puts it, “I’ve been saying the same thing for over 10 years, what else is left for me to say?”
No fat, just flesh and bones: The EFW team will save a big chunk of budget by calling off the press conference, which in previous years involved several costs from hiring models, make-up artists, to stage production.
The press conference for EFW 2009 Autumn/Winter was supposed to take place today hadn’t it been called off just even before the invitation letter was faxed to members of the press. The press kit will instead be dispatched to the media earlier next week.
You don’t need a degree in economics to figure out that calling off the press conference is a recession-induced decision. Oftentimes, event organizers are left with a choice of cutting off either production or marketing budget should they continue to stage a show in this economic downturn. I had no ideas how long it took the EFW team to choose but it’s pretty obvious to me that there’s no way this most enduring fashion week would ever sacrifice their revered production quality for a ceremonial press conference.
In fact, Mr Kullawit was right when he said, “We’d rather keep the money for the show because people will come, with or without the press conference.” The Elle Promotions team has, to their amazement, received a number of calls from some journalists inquiring after the absence of the press conference and of course, asking for the press kit. They hadn’t actually informed anyone about the press conference, or the lack thereof. The main, Autumn/Winter leg of the Elle Fashion Week and its related activities (like the press con) has secured its place not just in the fashion calendar but perhaps the yearly planner of local journalists and fashion enthusiasts that a small deviance in the schedule could prompt EFW regulars to ring the head office for an explanation. Also, the Thai fashion scene is such a small realm that power lies more with words of mouth than a faxed invitation letter.