Getting your mitts on a fashion show invite has long been revered as one of the highest honours in the fashion industry.
For years, a show ticket has symbolised a person’s expertise or notoriety and (wrongly, we might add) created a hierarchy of power on the FROW among designers, stylists, journalists, celebrities, influencers and fans. After all, not everyone can be lucky enough to witness such beautiful, experimental and innovative creations grace a catwalk firsthand.
And, ever vying for special attention, over time designers have tweaked traditional notions of what fashion show invitations – previously, embossed cards or handwritten notes – should entail and started to send invitees everything from balloons, handbags and masks, to digital notes (and about time, too, for this last one).
As of 2014, The World Count reports that 50 per cent of waste produced by businesses is comprised of paper, while 93 per cent of paper comes from trees. 'Every tree produces enough oxygen for three people to breathe,' it claims.
So, what better way to champion sustainability than rid the fashion industry of paper invites altogether and use them as yet another way of communicating a collection's theme through other forms of creativity?
In 2019, luxury labels such as Dolce & Gabbana went paperless with videos about their Milan Fashion Week Men’s show sent on digital tablets, while Prada have been known to send corrugated cardboard boxes wrapped with white stickers.
Here is a list of the best fashion show invitations, from Gucci to Fendi:
In July 2020, Gucci’s Epilogue presentation invites were made up of an assortment of organic, locally sourced fruit and vegetables. The presentation was described as a playful experimentation ‘aimed at reversing traditional fashion rules and perspectives’.
'Casting the team from his design office, the Epilogue will be presented through a unified collection, with the seeds of what will be the near, imminent future,' a press note describing the show reads.
Prior to creative director Alessandro Michele’s AW19 show, guests were sent invitations which were made of papier-mâché mask of the head of Hermaphroditus delivered in a museological crate with rope handles.
The invite to the #GucciFW19 show by #AlessandroMichele. Modelled like papier-mâché, a mask of Hermaphroditus, who in Greek mythology was said to be a two-sex child with a name compounded from his parents’ names Aphrodite and Hermes, and a symbol of androgyny. #mfw pic.twitter.com/EljzegLjIJ— gucci (@gucci) February 19, 2019
Hermaphroditus is the child of Ancient Greek gods who is believed to have been intersex – a fitting choice of icon given that Michele regularly presents unisex collections.
Our Winter 2018 show invite envelopes are 100% compostable (& so are you!) Continuing our ongoing commitment to sustainability and eco-innovation our show invites, as last season, are created with @TIPAcorp technology.— Stella McCartney (@StellaMcCartney) March 4, 2018
Watch the show LIVE tomorrow on Facebook from 10am CET. pic.twitter.com/m67ENoWNBl
The eco-conscious designer has long championed environmentally-friendly invitations for her shows.
In 2018, McCartney sent out envelopes that were 100 per cent compostable. A year later she sent a biodegradable silver foil envelope and invited them to dedicate a tree to a loved one.
Honouring the late Karl Lagerfeld, Fendi placed cards on seats featuring the date the day the designer died alongside his signature.
Ahead of its AW19 show, the brand sent guests a tea towel with stitched edging that referenced the design details in collection.
Don’t know if the jil sander invite was actually a tea towel... but it is now pic.twitter.com/F5v1orIyci— Emma Hope Allwood / EHA (@emmahopeall) February 24, 2019
Paying tribute to the late Chanel designer Karl Lagerfeld last September, guests received blue speckled invites on white paper with two interlinking double ‘C’ Chanel logos.
running the gamut since my arrival— Jules (@JulesMorganRP) March 22, 2019
Sitting on my bed sifting through the invitations of events and shows I’d been invited to and the program for the Chanel show, a tribute to Karl Lagerfeld, I attended last week .. the evening still emblazoned in my mind + pic.twitter.com/UUg80j0m8x
The invitations were sent out for the luxury brand's 'Winter Wonderland' show, which featured ski chalets and pine trees in an alpine setting at Paris’ Grand Palais, marking Lagerfeld's final show for Chanel.
A Lagerfeld-drawn illustration was also included in show packs which featured drawing of Lagerfeld and Coco Chanel, with the phrase: ‘The beat goes on.’
Ahead of his show at London Fashion Week in February 2019, the designer sent out invitations in the form of a doctor’s drug prescription.
‘Sequins 5mm. Warning do not swallow – prolonged use may cause addiction. Common side effects – user may experience feelings of euphoria,’ the invitation read, much like a drug slip.
Four years prior, he sent out bracelets to guests meaning you could quite literally wear Ashish to the show, even if you hadn't previously owned a piece from the designer.
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