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  • Writer's pictureSamantha Dwyer

What's The Difference: Runway Show V. Fashion Presentation?

In general, there are two types of events that take place during Fashion Week: presentations and runway shows. One may think runway shows are superior in terms of garnering press for a brand; however, it depends on what the brand's goals are and its position in the marketplace. For newer designers, it's probably a good bet to have a fashion presentation where you get up close and personal with the press and clients. On the other hand, big established brands can opt for a splashy runway show to flex their muscles in the media.

What's The Difference?

  • Fashion Presentations

  • Runway Shows

  • Re-Sees

  • Press Previews

There is a certain level of intimacy afforded when it comes to fashion presentations. Presentations allow guests to spend time with the pieces as well as meet with the designer and the brand communications team. Guests have the opportunity to aim their attention at the minute details of a garment, accessories, hair, and makeup. Having this intimate interaction with the collection offers photographers and guests an opportunity to capture the full vision of the designer. Another positive aspect of presentations is that each guest feels like they are front row at the show!

A presentation means that a designer and their team can literally be on hand to answer questions one-to-one, rather than closing the backstage entrance post-show in exhaustion or only engage in the strange ‘group interviews’ that seem to have become the norm.”, explains London-based editorial director Olivia Singer who has worked for publications including Vogue, and i-D.

Anna Wintour standing at Marc Jacobs NYFW show
Anna Wintour waiting for Marc Jacobs to begin. (Photo Credit: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)

However, with everyone "front row", this means the designer and their team have to constantly behave in the “front of house” because everything is portraying the brand image. There is no “backstage” behavior as you may have during a runway show. Also, models have been known to faint as presentations require models and staffers to be on their feet for 2+ hours.

Since runway shows typically last all of 15 minutes, it's mostly the anticipation and hierarchical tradition that excites both brands and attendees about the format. Runway shows require seating charts, which makes the show more exclusive, especially the guests seated in the front row. However, if there are multiple runway shows happening at the same time photographers, journalists, and celebrities have to pick and choose which shows to attend — like that season when Marc Jacobs' 7:30 PM show was late, but Rihanna's Savage x Fenty lingerie show was scheduled for 9 PM — decisions, decisions. The guests who attend and are photographed could make the difference in a designer's show being a success or a flop. Whichever format a designer chooses, there will still be swarms of people knocking down the door to be one of the few to see the new collection firsthand.

Lastly, Press Previews and Re-Sees offer brands the benefits of a presentation in the following days after the mad dash of the runway show. Buyers and press can go to a designer showroom to "Re-see" the collection from the runway show. Previews and re-sees are also where stylists "pull" clothing and "looks" for their clients or publication.

What do you think of fashion shows and presentations? Leave a comment below. Follow Fashion League on Instagram, and subscribe to our newsletter for Faux or Fashion™ trivia, and the latest job postings from some of your favorite companies.

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