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.

WWD Digital Daily - - News - BY JOELLE DIDERICH

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.

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