Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Fashion Television Ends An Era

Today's announcement that Fashion Television will cease production after 27 years on-air was sad news.  Not only for myself but, for many who looked to the show for the latest trends from around the world.  The 30-minute television series was originally launched on CityTV with host Jeanne Beker.  For over a quarter century Beker has been the face of FT bringing high fashion into the living rooms of those who would otherwise never had access to runway shows, photo-shoots, galleries and high society in fashion.

Jeanne Beker during the early days of Fashion Television

I grew up with Fashion Television.  I looked forward to watching it during its time-slot after CityTV news on the weekend.  Pulling out my VHS tape I would set the timer to record another episode of Fashion Television.   As an aspiring designer with dreams of becoming the next Supermodel, I would watch the program religiously carefully analyzing the runway walk of Naomi Campbell, Christy Turlington, Linda Evangelista and  Yasmeen Ghauri.  I also studied the work of Gianni Versace, Karl Lagerfeld, Marc Jacobs, Donna Karan and many more over the years.  The program evolved from being the small show out of Toronto, Ontario, Canada into a syndicated program shown in over 130 countries around the world.

Beker has been the brand of Fashion Television since the beginning.  It's only fitting that she broke the news on twitter (@Jeanne Beker) saying, "So surreal.  The dream is over: After 27 glorious years, FT production ceased today.  So sad to see some of my closest colleagues move on." 

After the initial surprise of the show ending it's run, I thought about the era in which the program made its launch.  It was during a time when fashion and its designers were just emerging as their own personalities.  When they were looking for ways to make themselves known through media.  Designers like Marc Jacobs created videos to show their work hoping it would bring the same recognition as videos did for musicians in the 1980's.

Jeanne Beker, who has been host of the series since the beginning, was responsible for being part of an innovative team by creating such a show that didn't exist.  For the first time, people who would never go to a fashion show had all-access passes by watching the program.  Viewers got to see the face of the designer and hear them talk about their collections, inspirations and bring us into their world.  Much in the same way we'd see our favourite actor or musician being interviewed on an entertainment program.

The show inspired many to become models, designers, photographers, make-up artists and stylists.  It was where young people could see working in the fashion as a viable career.  Fashion was not only about glamour but, it was a business.

Jeanne Beker will remain with Bell Media working on other projects.

Fast forward to 2012 and times are so different than when FT first debuted.  Now there is so much competition from various media outlets.  The Internet has played a very big role in bringing fashion to the masses in real time.  Fashion bloggers who are sitting in the front rows of shows are now posting tweets and making Facebook updates with photos, videos and comments about the next season of style.  Much quicker than the production of a television program.  The consumer no longer needs to turn on the TV to get fashion news.  With the click of a mouse or the tap of your mobile phone, everything is at your fingertips.

Over the last few years Fashion Television has gone through some changes.  The biggest being the move from CityTV to CTV.  Despite the cancellation of the program, Bell Media, the owner of CTV, plans on continuing to evolve and develop the Fashion Television Channel.  Jeanne Beker will also stay on with CTV and collaborate on other projects.

1 comment:

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