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Is Apple Saying Goodbye to Fashion? (The New York Times)

The article first appeared on The New York Times

A sudden, striking influx of glamorous non-techies at a tech hub in California. Grumbles about NDAs. Excited, surreptitious glances. Gossip about disruption. A drumroll for a hitherto hush-hush, industry-upsetting announcement.

Sound familiar?

This is not a description of what is happening today at the Apple event in Cupertino, as the company unveils its new video service and television shows (among other things). It is a description of what happened on Sept. 9, 2014, at the Apple event in Cupertino, where the Apple watch was unveiled. For those of us who remember that day, the run-up to this week has provided an eerie sense of déjà vu.

Not to mention a question: What’s the deal with wearables and fashion? Five years on from the watch’s much-ballyhooed introduction, is the relationship over? Has technology found a new object for its affections?

For a brief, shining moment, there was such an intense attraction. The trend wheel turns so fast these days that it is easy to forget, but take a moment, please, to remember when. Because it is possible that there is a lesson for us all buried in the end of the affair (apologies to Graham Greene).

“There is this endless hunger in fashion for newness and what’s the next thing, and Apple and Silicon Valley really promises that,” said Mimma Viglezio, the editor of the digital platform ShowStudio. “So they” — we! — “just embraced it.”

The Pheromones Were Flying

In advance of the watch’s introduction, Apple — which, after all, had been built on some of the principles dear to luxury, including the allure of tactile design, and planned obsolescence — began seducing glossy executives right and left to come work for the company.

Most notably there was Paul Deneve, the chief executive of Yves Saint Laurent; Patrick Pruniaux, of Tag Heuer; and Angela Ahrendts, the chief executive credited with using technology to transform Burberry, who arrived at Apple to run its retail and e-tail operations with a gilded halo still fresh on her head.

Front-row denizens like Alexandra Shulman, the editor of British Vogue, and Lauren Indvik, the editor of Fashionista, flew out to Cupertino in the middle of New York Fashion Week, suggesting that when it came to shows, the one in California was the one that mattered.

During Paris Fashion Week, Apple had an unveiling at the super-boutique Colette and Karl Lagerfeld came. Later there was a dinner at Azzedine Alaïa’s, so designers like Olivier Rousteing (of Balmain) and models like Cara Delevingne could ogle the accessory.

Read the full article on The New York Times.

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