In the fall of 2018, Jean-Philippe Hecquet, the newly installed chief executive of Lanvin, was looking for a designer to save the oldest French fashion house in continuous existence. The stakes were high. The brand’s collections had been critically savaged since parting ways with Alber Elbaz, its former creative director, in 2015.
A report titled E-commerce in China: Trends and Outlook for The Largest eCommerce Market in The World revealed that China’s e-commerce industry is predicted to reach $1.8 trillion by 2022. Domestic giants such as Alibaba and JD.com are leading the way, but unicorns like Xiaohongshu (小红书), otherwise known as Little Red Book or RED, are gaining traction and getting a larger slice of the pie than ever. Social commerce — or merging social media with an e-commerce platform — looks to be the future of retail. And according to Econsultancy, “in China, not only have multiple apps managed to fuse socialization with shopping in a way that adds to the experience, they’ve also become some of its most popular and successful ecommerce platforms.”
Our collective obsession with all things archival was born, ostensibly, from a reverence for fashion's great designers, which is what makes the current state of archive-referential fashion so curious. The appreciation for the clothing of yore was largely fostered in online communities where interested parties could discuss early-2000s Raf Simons, reminisce about John Galliano's years at Dior or share their Japan-based proxies for rare Comme des Garçons. But, the internet — the very thing that helped democratize fashion and spread the gospel of revered designers in the first place — is also what's at the root of the very odd moment we're witnessing across the industry.