I recently ran across this biography of designer Elizabeth Hawes. Many of us know Hawes because of her fashion industry expose of 1940, Fashion is Spinach. In it she gives a great description of how copiers were able to steal the latest French fashions and have their knock-offs hit the market almost before the real thing. In the past few weeks I’ve thought a lot about Hawes, mainly because of the drastic changes in the availability of images from the latest fashion shows. There are no more futile attempts to keep the new collections a secret. The shows are tweeted in real time, and some design houses even live-streamed their entire show.
Compare this to just 10 years ago, when the latest collections were available on just a few websites, and you had to pay a fee to see the current images! And in the 1950s several couturiers actually banned journalists from their shows because of the leaking of the new designs.