The designer Nicole Farhi claims that many celebrities who sit in designers’ front rows during Fashion Week aren’t there because they just love the brand. Rather, they’re being paid to show up and boost the label’s publicity.
Farhi condemns the practice. Though she hasn’t named names, the designer plans to further elaborate on the “abominable” practice in this weekend’s Telegraph.
Meanwhile, a recent article from Cathy Horyn noted how designers’ talent and importance is getting lost in the powerplays of their parent brands and corporate bosses. Are paid front row celebrities a concurrent sign of a new level of artificiality in luxury wear? Or perhaps it doesn’t matter — the buyers and editors go to the show to do their jobs, and for everyone else, Fashion Week is a spectacle. A celeb, paid or not, is just another thing to look at.
There are certainly two sides to the matter, but while it’s easy to write off clothes as a superficial business, the talent and effort that goes into the collections, season after season, is real. And that shouldn’t be eclipsed by turning the sideshow of the front rows into the main attraction — whether the attention grabbers sitting there were compensated or not.