Rewind to February of this year - editors and buyers from all over the world of fashion were gathered for the start of Milan Fashion Week. Schools and buildings had started to shut down as a result of Italy having the highest number of coronavirus cases in Europe. While the number was less than 200, and covid-19 had not yet been declared a pandemic, eyebrows were still being raised over whether the event - with thousands of people from all over the world under the same roof - should be going ahead. However, with a “show must go on” approach, it did. It was Giorgio Armani among the first of the fashion houses who modified their event as a result of coronavirus, uninviting guests from their live show and instead live streaming their AW20 collection on their social media channels. Of course, as coronavirus cases began to increase all over the world, this was just the beginning of a string of cancellations in the world of fashion.
Over the next few months, huge names in fashion along the likes of Versace, Chanel, Dior, Hermés, Max Mara and Gucci all put their shows on hold, some even cancelling them completely. When it came to Paris Fashion Week, both the menswear and Haute Couture shows were cancelled too. However, fast forward to June, where it was announced that the women’s shows of Paris Fashion Week would still go ahead as normal from the 28th September to the 6th October. So how exactly did the pandemic affect Fashion week? Drawing to a close a few days ago, we’re taking a look at just that.
Physical shows made a return, albeit with socially distanced guests and scaled back presentations. Dior’s unveiling of their Spring/Summer 2021 collection had made numerous changes to how they normally do things, with a maximum of 300 guests attending (almost a third of the usual amount) and all guests having their temperature taken as they entered the venue and attending shows wearing face coverings.
The situation meant certain brands getting creative with how they showcased their latest collections. In particular, French fashion house AMI displayed their first ever womenswear collection with a socially distanced display on the Seine River quayside, taking social distancing to the next level. While passersby were able to watch the display from a nearby bridge, around 140 guests were able to watch from a boat on the river, complete with screens onboard which allowed for them to get a closer look at each piece.
In contrast, despite some physical shows still going ahead, certain brands opted for alternatives. Dior broadcast their show on TikTok, while Italian fashion house Schiaparelli showcased their SS21 collection via video presentation. Balmain went for a combination of the two to celebrate their 75th anniversary, featuring a physical show that combined both real life and a virtual audience.
While the event certainly indicated that coronavirus could not impact the creativity of these world renowned brands, it was also tinged with a touch of sadness in the fashion world too. Kenzo unveiled their SS21 collection in an outdoor presentation, but just days later, the brand’s founder Kenzo Takada sadly passed away from complications linked to covid-19. Known for his love of vibrant colours and bold graphics, he was the first Japanese designer to make their mark on the Paris fashion scene, spending the rest of his career in the city after settling there in the 1960s.
While it has certainly been refreshing to see our favourite fashion houses returning to the catwalks (some in a slightly different form than others), it’s clear that we can be expecting a few more virtual events over the coming months. However, if we’ve learned one thing from Paris Fashion Week, it’s that these iconic designers will not let the pandemic get in the way of their creativity, and we for one, can’t wait to see what happens next.
Written by Amy Jackson - Content and Features Writer for My Favourite Voucher Codes