Paris Men’s Show Calendar Still In Flux As Protests Loom
Several brands have rescheduled their shows on Jan. 19 to avoid run-ins with “gilets jaunes” protesters who converge on Paris on Saturdays.
The calendar for next Saturday's shows at Paris Fashion Week: Men's continues to evolve, as organizers work to avert any danger of France's yellow vests movement spoiling their carefully planned showcases.
Following Dior's decision to advance its show to Friday, several other brands have rescheduled, although they have stuck to their original Jan. 19 date. Brands have contacted guests to advise them of the new time slots, but have requested the details be kept confidential in order not to alert protest organizers.
The show calendar on the web site of the Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode, French fashion's governing body, has not been updated yet to reflect the changes. Brands showing on Saturday include Sacai, Loewe, Thom Browne, White Mountaineering and Hermès.
Ralph Toledano, president of the federation, said it was in touch with city authorities to make sure everything goes without a hitch.
“We are working with the Paris police, which have made a number of recommendations concerning locations and time slots. Naturally, they are implementing every possible and imaginable measure, so we have followed those recommendations in a responsible manner,” Toledano told WWD.
He noted that it wasn't the first time the federation has tweaked its schedule to adapt to unfolding events. Security at the shows was especially high in the wake of the 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris, and the federation has also had to work around major traffic-stopping events such as marathons and the Gay Pride march.
“The calendar can change until the last minute. We want to limit risks as much as possible,” Toledano underlined.
“It's sound management in light of the events that have unfolded over the last few weeks. We are working closely with the fashion houses and the police, taking into account the time slot, location, venue and the notoriety of the house. Clearly, a show being held in a purpose-built venue is not the same as a presentation on the sixth floor of a building in front of 50 journalists,” he added.
Symbolized by demonstrators wearing yellow safety vests, the “gilets jaunes” protest movement started out as discontent over a fuel tax but has broadened to encompass a range of frustrations over declining living standards, taking a violent turn and throwing the government of President Emmanuel Macron into crisis.
Peaceful demonstrators have been joined by rioters who have targeted luxury stores and other businesses, turning the Avenue des Champs-Élysées and other locations into battlefields. As a result, boutiques and department stores closed their doors on several Saturdays in the run-up to Christmas to avoid damages.
After a lull over the holiday period, the number of protesters turning out for the Saturday demonstrations has started to climb again. A total of 84,000 people hit the streets on Saturday, up from 50,000 a week earlier, although fewer violent incidents were recorded.
In Paris, firefighters and other security forces also had to contend with a massive gas explosion that killed four people and left dozens injured.
As the winter sales period kicked off this week, the French government said it would extend measures to help retailers recover from the protests.
Protesters walk alongside the Seine river during a yellow vest protest in Paris.