If you go over the to the Vogue Runway page for the Fall 2016 Ready to Wear Shows, you’ll be greeted by a banner that advertises the “Top Shows”. Something that immediately caught my eye was that the vast majority of the collections were designed by men.
Now, to be fair, there are a few things I’m unsure of when looking at the page:
- I don’t know if “Top Shows” is determined by viewer hits on the site OR if the shows are ranked by the editorial staff for the site
- The top shows might not necessarily be ranked the very best moving left to right as I’m assuming
Regardless, if we take it at face value: of the ten collections noted as “Top Shows,” only three were designed by women. Marni and Prada are entirely the efforts of female designers, and over at Valentino the credits are split between Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli.
Top Shows/Labels and their Designer:
- Lous Vuitton – Nicolas Ghesquière
- Valentino- Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli
- Chanel- Karl Lagerfeld
- Saint Laurent- Hedi Slimane
- Balenciaga- Demna Gvasalia
- Loewe- Jonathan Anderson
- Balmain- Olivier Rousteing
- Dolce & Gabbana- Stefano Gabbana and Domenico Dolce
- Marni- Consuelo Castiglioni
- Prada -Miuccia Prada
Above: Karl Lagerfeld with models wearing his Fall 2016 collection. Image here.
This is rather troubling because, by and large, societies tend to think of fashion as a stereotypical women’s thing. After all, nearly all the models on the runway are women, and the designs on the catwalk are primarily considered to be for self-identified women.
Despite this, you can see above that the most-lauded design houses are run by men. From behind the
seams scenes, the people determining what should be worn on women’s bodies are men. No doubt these top male designers out-earn their female counterparts, and get the bulk of credit for shaping fashion history.
Above: Miuccia Prada takes a bow after her Fall 2016 show.
Just go to any fashion website or read any fashion magazine, and you’ll see that for all the thousands of articles run on Nicolas Ghesquière every year, a handful will also be written about Conseulo Castiglioni. It’s the typical, sad, sexist truth about our societies–be it writers, filmmakers, artists, musicians, and even fashion designers–we tend to focus on the work and achievements of men.
So, what’s to be done? For one, help change the focus and shift the conversation. At The Closet Feminist, we only pin runway shows that have a female head designer for that season. Read books by women. Listen to music by women. Appreciate art by women. Big steps and baby steps will get us there.