There are many things considered passé in 2019: political indifference and plastic straws, chief among them.
And it seems that Fashion Week might be destined for that same fate.
For four weeks twice a year, New York, London, Milan and Paris becomes a mecca of international style (even more so than their usual status) and hordes of well dressed men and women emerge from the woodwork to sit front row or have their picture taken and be seen as part of the 'in' crowd.
In essence, fashion weeks are the world’s largest trade shows: they demonstrate new season collections of designers for buyers, editors and celebrities who might wear their work at a later date. It comes at an extraordinary financial cost to the designer, which is justified for its press coverage and magazine specials.
But times are very obviously changing and consumers want more, and they want it now. In the past, most designer collections were a preview of what was coming next seasons, but now the likes of Burberry, Tommy Hilifger and Ralph Lauren have made their pieces available immediately for purchase.
The idea of still putting on such lavish productions, which costs a minimum six figures, is a mixture of honouring the legacy of its past and adapting to its future. But this year there hasn’t been the same enthusiasm, which is all the more extraordinary considering the issues facing the global population. Fun and frivolous escapism is needed more than ever.
For years, Fashion Week was such a far removed concept from everyone’s daily life that it was impossible not to become fascinated and want to get a glimpse of the goings on behind the velvet rope, but social media tends to extinguished any existing curiosity by over-sharing.
Influencers share every moment of their getting-ready process, live stream the show and take selfies during the exclusive dinner that will eventually follow. And they will treat each show with the same sense of fawning approval as if they are seeing the concept of clothing for the very first time.
Accessibility is the main draw for labels today and it’s hard to muster excitement about seeing the same people wearing the same clothes at the same events as we have for decades. There are only so many times we can see pictures of a Hadid or Jenner sister on the runway or Olivia Palermo's street style pictures before it starts feeling stale.
There’s a reason why throwback pieces work so well for lifestyle publishers: it reminds readers of the industry’s heyday, when less people took themselves so seriously and the ones that did are remembered in the history books for being as silly as they were.
A colleague loves to proudly share a story when she was starting out, while studying at the London College of Fashion circa 2009. Cheryl (then Cole)'s stylist dropped her invitation outside the Henry Holland show and without thinking, she picked it up, passed it as her own and was accepted immediately in the front row. As a 21-year-old college student, she had fooled the so-called masters, all the while waiting to be caught - a fate which never came.
The fashion industry has always had a tendency to take itself too seriously and in a world that is becoming too serious all its own, is it too much to ask that we endorse some silliness? And leave the phones at home.
We are surrounded by fashion fans in the Ballyroe Heights Hotel in Tralee and I know better than to pull the main man away from his legion of admirers, who are all gussied up and queueing excitedly for photos with Don O'Neill and his husband, Pascal Guillermie.