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Are Designers Going for Smaller Shows, Thanks to Tom Ford?

>> Since her collection's inception, Victoria Beckham has hosted her fashion show presentations in intimate settings, narrating each look. Same goes for L'Wren Scott, who has for many seasons kept her presentations intimate enough to simultaneously serve a lunch. And over a year ago, Marc Jacobs downsized his fashion show invites from 1,400 to 500. But after Tom Ford trumpeted the merits of an intimate show last fashion week, some think a change toward smaller shows is in the air.

“He [Ford] shook up the industry,” said Paul Wilmot, a fashion publicist whose firm handles the Oscar de la Renta and Bill Blass shows. “And if somebody says they weren’t influenced, that would be a lie.” James Laforce, who handles shows like Vena Cava, notes: “I’ve heard plenty of people saying, ‘Let’s do a Tom Ford kind of thing.’ They are asking themselves, ‘Is more really more, or is more watering down our influence?’” And KCD's Ed Filipowski, who produces shows for Alexander Wang, Phillip Lim, and Jacobs, agrees: “Intimate is a word that’s definitely in the air."

It's true: a spokesman for IMG, which produces the Lincoln Center shows, says that there has been an increased demand for the smaller Lincoln Center venues like the Box, at 250 seats, and the Studio, which seats 500.

Altuzarra has invited a third fewer guests than last season — less than 300. “In this day and age when there are so many shows, everything gets so much coverage through live streaming, Twitter and the blogs,” Coline Choay, the label's director of publicity and marketing, notes. “You want to make the live show experience special . . . Intimacy, exclusivity and a chance to see the clothes: those are our priorities. We like exposure, but we want a more controlled exposure.”

However, in some cases, the move to intimacy could be a more amenable front for financial constraints. Publicist Vanessa von Bismarck, who handles shows for the likes of Edun, Erin Fetherston, and Suno, says that financial pressures caused some of her clients to go for a smaller production: "They just don’t have the money to put on a big show.” And as Filipowski pointed out: “In reality, we’re not seeing big changes in the size of the shows.”

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