Rebecca Minkoff S/S 2016
Rebecca Minkoff S/S 2016

Everyone is well aware that the entire fashion system is broken, and behind the scenes in New York, insiders are talking about the severity of the problem. While hard and fast answers are non-existent, a handful of labels, most notably Burberry, Tom Ford, and Tommy Hilfiger, have announced significant changes to their runways starting in September. As I’ve discussed before, what they’re proposing is not easy and does not come without risk, but, at least, someone’s trying to move the industry forward.

Leading that charge, having made her announcement all the way back in December, is Rebecca Minkoff. In a blog post on her website, Ms. Minkoff states:

We’re still running on an outdated industry calendar, not yours. So by the time you’re able to buy these pieces, you’re bored. That’s a shame. And I don’t blame you.

Since I started my company ten years ago, I’ve valued the ability to connect directly with you, my customers. I’ve always tried to listen to what you need in your clothing and accessories and address those needs in my designs. And when I see first-hand that you’re frustrated—I’m frustrated, too.

She echoed those same sentiments in her designer notes for her show at noon today as she took the first step in changing the status quo. What came down the runway weren’t styles for next fall, but rather her spring/summer collection, ready for purchase right now, as it was being shown. History has been made.

This is one of those situations where actually being at the show might have been a disadvantage. If you were watching from a suitable device, either a PC, laptop, or sufficiently sized tablet, you not only saw the clothes as they were coming down the runway, but were given links to make purchases, live, without ever leaving the show. You like that blouse? Click, click, and it’s yours. Purchases were saved in a shopping cart until after the show at which time you could finalize your purchase. That quickly, the entire runway paradigm shifted.

Granted, there are still some bugs to work out. Those viewing on a smaller mobile device, such as the standard-sized smartphone, may have found the purchase windows frustrating as they dominated the screen on some models. The entire collection wasn’t for sale yet, either, just select pieces, and at times that created some confusion, especially when the dress in the purchase window didn’t match what was on the runway. Perfection is still a ways off, but what’s important is that the journey has begun.

Minkoff’s collection itself was very spring, which still felt a bit uncomfortable given that it was only 23° in New York when the show started. The thin cotton dresses, short skirts, and high-waisted shorts seemed a bit chilly just yet, but hey, everyone has beach plans coming up next month, right? Order now and they’ll be waiting on you when you get back from Paris Fashion Week in March. The collection has a decidedly Southwestern flare to it, as did much of what we saw last September, with plenty of dangling fringe of leather jackets and purses shaped either like canteens or saddle bags, your choice. There were even suede mules for your feet.

Details made for some of the finer touches. Long-ribboned ties were quite nice and breezy at the neckline of several blouses. Short leather biker jackets came in pastel colors and looked as good draped over the shoulders as they did being worn. Blue jeans are very forgiving, roomy in the hips but still tight enough to not look baggy.

What’s likely to be the bit hit from the collection are the LA-NY t-shirts and sweatshirts. As much as we like to dress up, we enjoy being comfortable and Ms. Minkoff demonstrated multiple ways to wear the shirts without dressing down in the process. Given these were all in the “buy now” category, I won’t be surprised if they sell out quickly.

Just watching the whole show was something of a delight. Live music from Zella Day kept models walking lively down the runway and this was easily one of the most diverse castings we’ve seen from a major label. I don’t know how out of her way Larissa Gunn went in finding models of just about every ethnicity possible, but the resulting rainbow was beautiful.

#SeeBuyWear is the hashtag Ms. Minkoff uses to describe the show and it’s one that’s likely to take off in the industry. We’ll see many more shows like this come September, but never forget that it was Rebecca Minkoff who did it first.

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