The pandemic takes its toll on the fashion industry and the most prestigious Fashion Weeks – Paris, London, Milan, and New York – will take place virtually this year. Although there is going to be a catwalk for some shows, all will be audience-free. Those who wish to see the new collections can do so online.
Will this be the future of fashion? It is hard to tell since 2020 was such a unique year from many points of view. As big gatherings are not possible anymore, brands need to adapt and adjust. Since many luxury companies launched their new collections online, we would have expected that even the fashion weeks will do so. Some were very creative and realized video games presenting their clothes, like Balenciaga. Others created short films, having special guests among celebrities, like Gucci had with Billie Eilish and Harry Styles.
Paris Fashion Week, shows behind closed doors
La Fédération de Haute Couture e de la Mode already confirmed with the brands present for Paris Fashion Week that they would not be allowed to have any guests, just journalists and photographs would be present. According to Associated Press, the company said in a statement that: “we confirm that there can be no public gatherings” at Paris Fashion Week, adding that “houses can still organize ‘real’ runway shows with models broadcast live, provided that their events take place behind closed doors.”
The rules with “no guests” comes directly from police’s rules, said the same statement. Although it is not a total lockdown in France, at the moment, the curfew from 6 pm would make things difficult. Starting from January 25 until January 28, Women Haute Couture collections for Spring / Summer 2021 will be presented. Everything will be broadcasted online on a digital platform. During these days, you can get to see the new creations of Christian Dior, Giambattista Valli, Chanel, Giorgio Armani, Maison Margiela, Zuhair Murad, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Yuima Nakazato and many others. You can find the full schedule here.
Men’s Wear Collection, part of Paris Fashion Week, has already started and ends on January 24. All the shows were streamed online and they were “packaged” in a very creative way. Louis Vuitton showed a video-story to the world where it presented its new Fall / Winter 2021 collection designed by Virgil Abloh. You can watch it above. Also, Dior presented its Winter 2021 / 2022 Men collection on a customized catwalk. You can watch it here.
Milan Fashion Week, “phygital” fashion shows
Milan Fashion Week started on January 15, 2021, with a Men’s Wear collection presented by The Italian Chamber of The Italian Fashion (Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana). The show was broadcasted on a big screen in downtown Milan. During the following days, a series of fashion collections were presented both digital, or during physical shows (but with a shortlist of guests), so this special event received the name “phygital” fashion week.
Dolce&Gabbana canceled their show completely due to the pandemic, and went only digital; as well as Zegna and Prada. The only designer that had a physical show was Etro. Fendi wanted to do an audience-free also, but it was also presented digital. The womenswear collection for Milan Fashion Week should be presented during the month of February, but things are not yet decided. It will depend on the men’s wear collections presentations and the restrictions in place.
London Fashion Week, all virtual formats
London Fashion Week will start on February 19 until February 23 and both Men’s and Women’s collections will be presented at the same time. All shows will be digital. This decision was taken also because the United Kingdom went into a stricter lockdown earlier this month. According to Vogue, Caroline Rush, the CEO of the British Fashion Council, wrote in a statement: “despite all the challenges the last few years have brought, I truly believe that the creativity, agility, and business savvy of our sector will prevail and the societal conscious of our British businesses and fashion workforce will see us recalibrate to not only be strong creatively but strong sustainably too”.
New York Fashion Week – Digital
The same rule apply for fashion weeks that are not in Europe. The New York Fashion Week will take place from February 14 to February 18. It is expected that most of the shows will be digital. Although there was no official statement from The Council of Fashion Designers of America or other designers, given the current situation, virtual broadcasting videos are more possible.
For sure, there was no easy task for the designers to gather all their creativity and innovation to speak through their clothes in a time of upheaval and when many customers can’t physically go to stores because of restrictions all over the world. The future is digital, that is for sure. Now we shall see if this trend still continues after the pandemic is over.
Preview photo source: Pixabay