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01/10/2009 - par Mark Tungate (tungateinparis@hotmail.com)

So another Fashion Week is upon us. I find this interesting for many reasons, and not just because the streets are suddenly full of improbably tall Russian women. First of all, it's because fashion is part of the brand DNA of Paris – and not just for foreigners. During Fashion Week, magazines and newspapers seem to team up to remind the public that we live in the world's most chic city. Crazy fashion designers are often born in London, but they usually end up working in Paris.
I also find the fashion system fascinating. Fashion shows (runway shows, catwalk shows, whatever) were originally created so designers could show their collections to consumers. Now they are like exclusive clubs: have you ever tried to get into one? And yet they are undoubtedly a form of advertising. In fact they are live advertisements, which makes them both old-fashioned and disruptive.
I often wonder if catwalk shows will ever vanish. Surely it's far cheaper to make a video and stick it on your website? Then the buyers and the press can come and see the clothes in your showroom. But no, darling, the clothes must breathe, they must move! The fact is that fashion shows are great fun. But were Christian Dior to return, he might be surprised to learn that that they still exist in 2009.

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