How CR Runway and LuisaViaRoma Are Future-Proofing the Fashion Show

“This is the first multi-brand fashion show ever done on this scale,” enthused LuisaViaRoma CEO Andrea Panconesi of CR Runway, the ’90s look, consumer-facing extravaganza they are staging in Florence, Italy, during Pitti Uomo in June. It will be the first of a series of annual productions taking place in different cities across the globe.

Marking the 90th anniversary of the famous Florentine concept store, it will also be a celebration of all things ’90s. Carine Roitfeld is personally curating 90 looks from the fall ’19 men’s and women’s collections that pay tribute to the decade. “I hope 90 will be my new good luck number which his the reason we decided to do 90 looks,” she said.

Following a press conference in Paris at Hotel de Crillon to announce the partnership, FN sat down with Roitfeld, Panconesi and Roitfeld’s son Vladimir Restoin-Roitfeld, president and managing director of CR Fashion Book and consultancy arm, CR Studio, to discuss the show and its wider implications.

The multi-brand approach resembles that of a magazine or a concept store. “Fashion shows all over the world are the same, just like mono-brand stores,” said Panconesi, explaining that the partnership was born in November when he met the Roitfelds in New York when LuisaViaRoma was doing a pop-up store at Spring Studios. “We already have good connections with all the brands,” he said, “and they have good connections in terms of styling.”

Participating designers include Burberry, Givenchy, Moncler and Prada, some of which will create exclusives for the show, but Roitfeld isn’t worried about dealing with so many egos. “I’m a Virgo so I’m quite diplomatic,” she deadpanned. “I know how to deal with egos, I worked for 10 years on Gucci with Tom Ford.”

The concept borrows from both that of the Victoria’s Secret shows and the amFAR fashion show, which takes place every year during the Cannes Film Festival, which Roitfeld helps to organize.

The performance component is key; it’s social media catnip. The show will close with a performance by Lenny Kravitz and also feature sets from yet-to-be-revealed special guests. “We hope it will engage people even if they don’t think they are interested in fashion,” said Roitfeld.

“So many people will put it on their Instagram so it gives huge visibility to everyone involved, and what everyone wants now is visibility,” she said. “Social media is also the reason a show like this will continue to exist online. And let’s say that Florence is a perfect background for the selfie.”

LuisaViaRoma shop window, 1992.
LuisaViaRoma shop window, 1992.
CREDIT: LuisaViaRoma

The consumer-facing, see-now-buy-now nature of the show — a selection of the looks will be available the next day on LuisaViaRoma with further drops scheduled until the end of the year — is another way to engage the wider population. As is the fact that the 5,000 guests will include 1,600 members of the public, via a lottery on the LuisaViaRoma website. “We want to be change people’s perceptions that fashion is a closed world,” said Panconesi noting that there will also be giant screens throughout the city live-streaming the event.

He is keen to disabuse people of the perception that fashion is a closed world. “I hope it will be perceived as an event that is inclusive,” he said.

Bigger picture, the show is also a response to the challenges faced by traditional media sources and retail outlets to stay relevant and commercially viable amidst the competition and noise of today’s fashion landscape.

“Instead of waiting for people to buy a magazine, you have to come up with new ideas and own them in a different way,” said Roitfeld. “It’s just like creating a magazine like CR Fashion Book, but on the runway.”

“Its an extension of our brand,” added Restoin-Roitfeld, who spearheaded both CR’s digital and consultancy arms and is currently developing the brand across different platforms. “CR Runway is an extension of our DNA presented in a new way, but it can be related back to the magazine because of its editorial, curated nature.”

A vintage shot of LuisaViaRoma.
A vintage shot of LuisaViaRoma.
CREDIT: LuisaViaRoma

Likewise for LuisaViaRoma, the show represents an extension of the multi-brand concept store and is a forward-looking way to celebrate its milestone 90th anniversary. “I am totally focussed on the future,” said Panconesi.

With that in mind, next year will see the launch of a second LuisaViaRoma concept store in Florence. At 20,000 square feet, it will be four times the size of the original, stocking a mix of young designer-focussed fashion and beauty, and there will also be a restaurant.

“It’s dedicated to the new generation, they will be the big designers of the future, so if they don’t have a space to show their product they will die and then fashion will die,” he said, revealing that there will be a special workshop area for people to meet and share ideas. “People come to work and study in Florence from all over the world,” he said, “I want to be part of the social network of the city.”

However, unlike CR Runway, there will be a social media ban. “Telephones will be forbidden,” he said. “You can do your social at home.” The all-new LuisaViaRoma is geared to social discourse IRL.

Watch highlights from the FNAAs 2018 here. 

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