There was a time when the front row was devoid of celebrity and famous faces. Instead, the seating at salons and runways were reserved for press, private clients, buyers and those that mattered in the industry, like investors, tastemakers, opinion leaders. The hierarchy of seating was easy: on the front row you would seat a publication's editor in chief and fashion director, main buyers, etc. On the second row, and those behind, those with less important titles would sit furthest from the catwalk. All very logical and practical.
A fashion show is now longer just about next season's clothes
But these days a fashion show is not just about clothes or even image. It's about visibility, column inches, instagram likes and . The global fashion weeks are huge marketing opportunities for celebrities to be seen and photographed alongside the most glamorous events in the world. It is also a time when many actresses, who are paid ambassadors for luxury houses, must turn up every six months to sit on the front row and wear that designer's clothes.
Generally these events are so well organised, they happen every six months at the same locations, so brands have plenty of practise to ensure smooth runnings of their presentations.
But in Paris this week there was no getting away from the maddening crowd. The Balmain show, which saw the Kardashian clan as it guests, proved to be such a logistical catastrophe that completely spun out of control. Sure there a pre announcement to the media as to which celebrities were expected to show, but the frantic scramble of guests and those hoping to catch a glimpse of somebody famous, meant the actual invitees who are meant to sit on the front row and review the collection, couldn't access the venue. A circus of paparazzi ensued with the entire world writing about the near tumble taken by a reality television star.
In the end it could be regarded a clever tactic to create enormous hype before a show, with footage and images circulating on the internet long before the first outfit had been shown on the catwalk.
Some might call this genius marketing, but others, if you are attending this show, as you are so many others in one day for a series for four weeks, it gets tiresome. It's a shame that some brands cannot let the clothes speak for themselves. Perhaps the rule with fashion is like those with people: the person screaming the loudest is not necessarily the most interesting in the room.