PLANES, trains and parties sums up a typical September for the fashion pack. Kicking off with New York Fashion Week, taking in London and Milan before finishing up in Paris, for fashion editors, buyers, models, celebs and street stylers, it is a mad month of airports, air kisses and Airbnb. Not so much this year. While there have been digital presentations, films, virtual runways and in some cases even socially distanced catwalk shows, the coronavirus pandemic has meant Fashion Month has been far from the champagne-soaked circus we know and love.
International quarantine rules, local lockdowns and the ever-present real fear of Covid-19, mean fashionistas have been unable to zip around the globe as they normally would. But the business of fashion powers on. And the creative people behind it have had to get even more creative.
In New York, a city which has suffered some of the worst ravages of the coronavirus, Fashion Week was an almost entirely digital event, while London Fashion Week was a mix of installations, presentations and films. Although Erdem did hold an audienceless runway show.
In Milan – the city where the Covid-19 effect on fashion was first felt way back in March, when Giorgio Armani cancelled his AW20 show, pre-empting the city’s shutdown – Fendi, Sportmax, and Hugo Boss were among the brands for whom it was almost business as usual albeit complete with face masks, hand sanitiser and two-metre seat spacing.
The fact that Italy has not seen the sort of ‘second wave’ spikes that a lot of
Europe has, meant there were even international stars in attendance.
Ordinary People’s Paul Mescal was one of the guests of honour at Fendi, proof positive, if it were needed, of his star status.
In Paris some of the biggest names in fashion also took a ‘the show must go on approach’ with socially distanced physical runway shows.
Dior hosted its show in the Tuileries Garden and Coperni’s showcase was at the Montparnasse Tower, while Kenzo invited select guests to a park on the city’s Left Bank.
Balmain also chose to present the clothes on the catwalk.
Creative director Olivier Rousteing even had a star-studded FROW... of sorts. The designer asked magazine editors and celebrity friends like Jennifer Lopez, Cara Delevingne and Kris Jenner to film themselves as if they were watching the show, then displayed their videos on three rows of screens along the runway.
Still, with French Covid-19 numbers rising, some have criticised the events taking place at all.
Paris Fashion Week is expected to come to a close on October 6, with the next major round of fashion weeks then due to begin in February next year.
With coronavirus cases creeping up again globally, it is almost impossible to predict how the world will look by then.
Who knows, perhaps all the designers will go the way of Jeremy Scott who showed his spring/summer line for Moschino on model puppets in front of a puppet audience, both created by The Jim Henson Company Creature Shop. It certainly wouldn’t be the first time a fashion designer has made us look like Muppets.
Balmain’s starry ‘front row’ in Paris