When I began this post, all I knew about #PFW was that Rihanna got a lot of attention there and Chanel opened a fashion supermarket, and I only had this information because it was splashed across every major news aggregator. I’ve been busy beginning my social media blogging career here at Simply Measured, but I love fashion and wanted to get a clear overview of what happened on the Paris runways to inform my own (much lower-end) closet collection, so I turned to the data.
It may seem counterintuitive, using social media analysis as a starting point for learning about Paris Fashion Week instead of reading articles, watching videos, and then turning to data for a deeper explanation—but it allowed me to cut through all the activity and noise with a clean outline of what the major #PFW events and trends were. Keyword data pulled from Twitter became the guideposts for knowing what was popular, what was relevant, and what I could safely ignore.
Along the way, I learned a great lesson in how social media analytics can serve as an excellent genesis for industry research, as opposed to merely a way of filling in the blanks— whether you’re starting out as a topic expert or total newbie.
What Were People Talking About At Paris Fashion Week?
The first thing I did was run a “Conversation Driver Analysis” for March 5 (the final day of Paris Fashion Week) to gauge what people were talking about on Twitter. One of this report’s features is a researcher’s dream:
What a great place to start. This chart gives me the top 50 keywords and hashtags used in conjunction with #PFW. Now all I have to do is pick out the relevant (more specific) terms and Google away. For instance, I wouldn’t Google “Fall” but I certainly would search for “Louis Vuitton” to see what that show was like and why it got so much hype.
And here’s what I found when I looked into these terms:
For those of you non-fashionistas, “Miu” refers to much-lauded design house Miu Miu. When I go into the “Data” tab on the Conversation Driver Analysis report, I see that much of the Miu Miu talk on Twitter revolved around two things:
Lupita Nyong’o and Rihanna hanging out at the Miu Miu show immediately post-Oscars,
and the tweet that fashion week authority @VogueParis sent out and everybody promptly retweeted,
which looked something like this:
(New York Times)
Vuitton, of course, refers to Louis Vuitton. A simple Google search takes me to The New York Times, where I find out that the label’s new creative director, Nicolas Ghesquière, experienced a resounding success at Paris Fashion Week 2014 with a collection celebrated “for its modernity, its clarity, its decency,”
(New York Times)
thanks to architecturally astute designs like this one:
(The New York Times)
Murad refers to favorite celeb gown designer Zuhair Murad’s couture collection, which was bursting with blossoms, sequins and pastels ready to make a statement.
Even those who don’t know fashion know Chanel, and this year the mega luxury brand made an even bigger-than-normal entrance at Paris Fashion Week. On Tuesday, March 4, creative director Karl Lagerfeld turned Paris’s Grand Palais into a massive supermarket for Chanel’s show. On a stage bursting with produce and Chanel-adorned goods on the shelves, models pushed shopping carts down the runway and interacted with the elaborate set in the latest and greatest from the innovative designer.
(The New York Times)
“McQueen” refers to Alexander McQueen, who put on a typically theatrical, visually stunning, and wildly romantic runway show in Paris this year, wowing with a fairytale-heroine vibe and indelible couture gowns.
This was an interesting one. After delving into the “Data” tab I mentioned earlier and searching for this word, I remembered that “elle” is the French word for “it”:
And is also often used as a part of other French words:
So this one turned out to be a wash, but also a good reminder to keep an eye on the data for guidance.
This term was a reminder of how central a role Vogue plays in the fashion industry, because it all started with this little tweet:
That got retweeted a significant amount of times from all of Vogue’s Twitter handles, from @VogueParis, to @VogueSpain to @BritishVogue. And it led me to this article, which gave me way more insight into the backstage transformations at the McQueen show. Thanks, Vogue!
I learned so much doing my haute couture research, and had the best time doing it, that I want to share a pro tip for all you data geeks:
When I downloaded the Conversation Driver report into Excel, I discovered I could modify the Total Posts and Conversation Drivers graph to show whichever of those top 50 keywords I wanted to zone in on. I can also delete whatever I want from the graph to get a clearer vision of my data (in this case, “Total Posts”). Here’s a screencast demonstrating how to do this yourself:
Bonus Points: #PFW vs. #NYFW
After all my research, I began to wonder how New York Fashion Week (February 6-13) and Paris Fashion Week (February 24-March 5) compared on Twitter, just in terms of sheer number tweets. Here’s what #PFW looked like:
Over the course of Paris Fashion Week, #PFW was used a total of 258,558 times. Now let’s take a look at New York Fashion Week and its comparable hashtag, #NYFW.
This graph shows that almost double the amount of people tweeted out #NYFW—486,083 times total—during New York Fashion Week, even though Paris Fashion Week is longer by two days. Tweeting volumes also adhered to a more consistent pattern. Why do you think there was such a major difference? What makes New York Fashion Week a more Twitter-heavy event—especially when such major scene-makers and industry innovators were active at #PFW, as my research has shown? Weigh in and let us know what you think!