The way in which a designer appears at the end of their show can often attract as much attention as the collection itself. Body language is a non-verbal way of communicating with the rest of the world – according to psychologists, human communication is 20% verbal and as much as 80% non-verbal.
Following the latest round of autumn/winter 2012 womenswear shows, AnOther invited body language expert Dr Nicola J Davies to analyse the most memorable finale moments, including Alber Elbaz at Lanvin, design duo Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana, Marc Jacobs, Miuccia Prada and – taking their final bow – Stefano Pilati at Yves Saint Laurent and Raf Simons at Jil Sander.
"Marc Jacobs looks the audience in the eye with confidence, while also making no big movements or gestures – the pose of a modest man"
By opening his arms to the applause of the audience, Alber Elbaz is literally soaking up and absorbing the attention from the crowd. By placing his leg forward as if to get closer to the audience, Elbaz is encouraging more applause. He is clearly enjoying being in the spotlight and his pose suggests he can’t get enough of it.
Domenico Dolce is holding back a little, with one foot forward and one back. He is uncertain whether to approach the audience, while Stefano Gabbana is more confident in his pose and is comfortable being on stage. Indeed, Gabanna is eager for Dolce to be as much the focus as himself, gently prompting Dolce forward slightly. This is a team pose, with both wanting the other to gain recognition for their work.
Marc Jacobs looks the audience in the eye with confidence, while also making no big movements or gestures. This is the pose of a modest man. His subtle smile is one of genuine gratitude and pride. Despite his less bold stance compared to the other designs, Jacobs is comfortable on stage as an icon and model for his own designs.
Miuccia Prada looks vulnerable as she shrinks her shoulders down and the top half of her body forward. She is a little uncomfortable, but enjoying herself nonetheless. By gritting her teeth while smiling, it is clear that Prada is trying to bite back any signs of discomfort. Her fragile pose is one that asks the audience to be gentle.
Raf Simons uses his hands to hide his face and take the attention away from himself. His pose gives very little away, suggesting he wishes to reveal little about himself.
Stefano Pilati has perhaps the most confident pose of the designers, which is surprising considering that Yves Saint Laurent had already announced he would be leaving after this season. His fingers, which are pointing upwards, indicate that he wants to be remembered for his success.
Text by Dr Nicola J Davies
Dr Nicola Davies is a psychology consultant and freelance writer who regularly writes on topics that provide insight into human behaviour.