While most brands have chosen to present their collection online, the big haute couture houses, such as Dior, Chanel and Vuitton, are returning to the parades during “Fashion week”, which starts Monday in Paris in full progress of the COVID-19.
After men's fashion and haute couture entirely virtual this summer for the first time in history, this week of women's ready-to-wear from September 28 to October 6 will be “phygital” (half-physical, half-digital), but just as atypical.
Saint Laurent decided during confinement to give up Fashion weeks, announcing that the house will create at its own pace. Celine by Hedi Slimane, and Off-white, the brand of the American Virgil Abloh, star of the millennials, are also absent subscribers this season. But ten new designers are entering the official calendar featuring 84 houses, more than usual in both cases.
Masked parades with very few foreign guests and “subject” to the evolution of health instructions, presentations by invitation, videos broadcast on social networks: creators are adapting and trying to appropriate the new formats to talk about fashion in times of pandemic.
“This collection is the mirror of the last five months. I still work like that, it is the world around us that has changed radically, ”young French designer Marine Serre told AFP.
The strength of the garment
After impressive parades with a post-apocalyptic aesthetic, she opted this time for a short film which will be broadcast on Tuesday, in which she wanted to highlight “the strength that clothing has today, how it is protects us, helps us face our daily lives and move forward ”.
Marine Serre is the spearhead, with Belgian Dries Van Noten, of a manifesto for more responsible fashion where hundreds of small houses are committed to producing less and reinventing fashion shows. Marine Serre says she will “adapt according to what will happen”.
“I have nothing against remaking a show in the coming months. What is interesting in Fashion weeks is to create a synergy, a moment of sharing, being together “, she underlines, adding that having” 25 (shows) per year does not make sense ” .
The Georgian Demna Gvasalia, artistic director of Balenciaga, confided in an interview with the specialized media WWD to have wondered “if fashion has a meaning in this apocalyptic world in which we live since March”.
“I discovered that even in the time of the pandemic, people want new things, even more, to distract themselves from these horrors,” said the designer who will do a digital presentation on October 4 and a haute couture show in July.
The Turkish Ece Ege, at the head of her brand Dice Kayek, is back at Paris Fashion week with a film, after having given it up for four years, because she could no longer support the pace that demanded up to six collections per year.
“Films or exhibitions allow you to express that there are other things in your world than dresses, something that you want to tell through clothing. A film is always there, unlike the parade where you put your life, all your energy, your fortune for six months and then it lasts eight minutes and no one has understood anything, ”she told AFP.
If the last digital Fashion week did not seduce the critics, nostalgic for the effervescence of the parades, this format has not yet said its last word, estimates Miren Arzalluz, director of the Palais Galliera, fashion museum in Paris.
“There is the emotional side that is difficult to replace. But we can provoke other types of reactions through digital technology, it will be another experience, ”she told AFP.
In the summer, the houses offered “a quick fix” because they did not have time to conduct “a very thorough reflection”.
“The reflection begins now and we will see more and more interesting things,” she says.