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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Fashion shows to stream live on Web

By Booth Moore
Los Angeles Times

This is shaping up to be the season when the runway comes to you.

Hundreds of designers will present their fall collections during the monthlong runway circuit that kicked off last week in New York. And although the runway shows used to be exclusive events, fashion houses increasingly are extending the reach of their blockbuster productions by using the Internet.

For several seasons now, fashion show attendees have been taking their own amateur video and photos and posting them online using Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. So it was only a matter of time before designers got on the bandwagon. Giorgio Armani, Ralph Lauren and Dolce & Gabbana are among those who have experimented with bringing their runway shows to the digital space.

Alexander McQueen, who was found dead in his home on Thursday, had taken things to a new level in October, not only webcasting his groundbreaking Paris show live but also using it as a platform to introduce a new song by Lady Gaga and a short film by fashion photographer Nick Knight. It was thrilling, and not only because of the now infamous lobster-claw shoes on models' feet but also because it was a global entertainment event.

This season in New York, Alexander Wang and Rodarte's Kate and Laura Mulleavy will try to make some McQueen-type magic of their own when they stream their shows live on Knight's www.Showstudio.com. Marc Jacobs, Perry Ellis, Tommy Hilfiger, Michael Kors and Calvin Klein are also among those who will webcast shows live on their Web sites.

On Feb. 23, during London Fashion Week, Burberry is doing one better, webcasting its show live in 3-D (take that, James Cameron) at events to be held simultaneously in four cities. As models step out onto the runway at the Chelsea College of Art, invited guests at trendy venues in New York, Paris, Tokyo and Dubai will see all the action, including backstage prep and red-carpet arrivals. (Because of the time difference, an L.A. event will take place later. And those stuck at home will have to settle for 2-D at www.Burberry.com.)

Will it feel like the real deal? Maybe, and if it does it could become the new standard for fashion show webcasts.

The Burberry event is just one of many things to keep an eye on this season.

In New York, Reed Krakoff, creative director of Coach, will try his hand at luxury apparel, showing his first collection of clothing on the runway under his own name. Another hotly anticipated debut is London designer Marios Schwab's collection for revived 1970s label Halston. Although Sarah Jessica Parker, newly appointed creative director of the contemporary label Halston Heritage, is not involved with Schwab's collection, one would expect her to make an appearance.

Speaking of celebrity designers, Gwen Stefani and Victoria Beckham are returning to fashion week to host presentations of their lines, and the Olsen twins are taking the Row to the runway for the first time.