The venue where a designer chooses to hold their catwalk presentation or a trade show bases its exhibition says a lot about their operation, market position and relationship with the attendees and visitors, whether that be buyers, punters or even lowly journalists.
With Pitti Uomo and London Collections coming to a close last week, followed by Milan Fashion Week and Bread & Butter this week, it’s interesting to note how different the approaches can be and how this affects how the shows are perceived.
Take Bread & Butter. The huge Tempelhof Airport in Berlin is, so I’m led to believe, the largest continuously roofed building in the world. It’s a monumental and brutalist space in which to house one of our industry’s biggest trade shows. I’m quite fond of it (I’m a little odd like that), but I can see how the building can be overwhelming on first visit - perhaps not the best way to welcome new attendees. In practical terms though the space is interesting yet does work, something The Hospital Club in our capital, home to London Collections: Men, can’t really claim.
Yes, the multi-floored venue is relatively suited to hosting the exhibition element of the three-day event, but the catwalk space squirrelled away in the basement is a different kettle of fish. Sardines in fact, if the close quarters of the seating is anything to go by, as showgoers squash in cheek by jowl either side of what is possibly the shortest catwalk known to those who frequent fashion weeks across the globe. What’s more, the dungeon handily blocks out all 3G signal and there’s no wifi, making reporting from the front row an imposibility. For an event aiming to raise the profile of British menswear, it’s hardly the most impressive of bases.
With Pitti Uomo barricaded in the Fortezza, fashion week venues going more off piste, and other trade shows
at least occupying fit-for-purpose spaces, LCM is up against some stiff competition. Let’s hope they can cure The Hospital Club’s ailments next season.