University of Fashion Blog

Category "Fashion Shows"

A FRESH START TO THE YEAR: PRE-FALL 2021

- - Fashion Shows

Versace’s Pre-Fall 2021 Collection. (Photo Credit: Theo Sion for Versace)

As we begin 2021, many of us are looking forward with hope to a vaccine that will help get us back to our pre-Covid lives. It can’t come a minute too soon. But what started out as a year of hope, took a discouraging turn here in the U.S. when only 6 days into 2021, we witnessed an insurrection in a failed attempt to bring down our government. As we write this, we still can’t believe it! It was a very sad day for our democracy.

 

Erdem’s Pre-Fall 2021 Collection. (Image Credit: Erdem)

So, who doesn’t need a little fashion in their life right about now? Thank goodness for Pre-Fall. Fashion designers are celebrating the new year by promoting a return to ‘dressing up.’ They want us to ditch our sweats and leisurewear and put some fashion effort into our lives. Sounds good to me! And once again, due to Covid restrictions, these designers came up with creative ways to present their collections.

GUCCI

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     (Video Credit: Gucci)

Leave it to Gucci’s creative director, Alessandro Michele, to present his Pre-Fall 2021 collection in a manner that is just as eclectic and creative as his clothes. Michele collaborated with American filmmaker Gus Van Sant, and the two creative geniuses came up with the project known as “GucciFest.” A digital project of 90 minutes shot throughout Rome over a 20-day period. The outcome, a seven-episode miniseries of visual delight.

The miniseries features plenty of familiar faces. In episode three, Ouverture of Something That Never Ended, the film starred Harry Styles. Styles, is not only known his music but also for his gender-fluid approach to fashion. The pop star made a cameo wearing a pink Gucci tee tucked into eco denim washed shorts. “When it comes to making art it’s about finding the thing you’ve always wanted to see that has never been made,” Styles says in the film while talking on a phone call. “It’s always an uncomfortable moment, I think, when you find the thing. You don’t know if you love it or hate it because you don’t really know what it is yet. But I think that’s the most exciting place to work in.”

The fashionable miniseries also includes stars such as Florence Welch (of the band, Florence and the Machine) in a vintage shop setting, as well as Billie Eilish (needs no explanation) walking her pet robot dog. The star of the miniseries, Italian actress Silvia Calderoni, is filmed throughout the empty ancient streets of Rome, all decked out in Gucci from head-to-toe.

As for the looks, they were Michele’s maximist aesthetic to the max. The collection had plenty of vibrant festive looks that ranged from a sequin pink and green zig-zag pattern pant paired with a purple sequin top and green bed-jacket; a purple pantsuit with gold embroidery; sheer lace lingerie inspired pieces; and plenty of beastly fur outerwear. For day, Michele featured a capsule of casual looks such as a blue athletic suit with the Gucci stripe running down the side; logo athletic t-shirts; flared denim pants; and plenty of denim shorts. The creative director also showed plenty of his vintage, ‘70s inspired looks with floral dresses; bow blouses; and geometric print coats.

Kudos to Michele for presenting his collection in such a creative, attention grabbing way.

CHANEL

(Video credit: Chanel)

As the old saying goes, “The show must go on!” And so Chanel filmed it’s pre-fall 2021 show at the Château de Chenonceau with a cast and crew of 300 and precisely one VIP guest: Kristen Stewart.

The Château de Chenonceau, is one of the jewels of France’s Loire Valley. The castle belonged to Catherine de’ Medici, the Italian-born, former queen of France, and throughout the grand estate you can find interlocking Cs, which were the Queen’s initials, but today, they look incredibly similar to the Chanel logo. The grand estate is also known as the Ladies’ Château, according to WWD, “Chenonceau has a history marked by a succession of powerful women, of which the Renaissance rulers, in particular, inspired the label’s founder, Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel. That the French fashion house chose to stage its Métiers d’Art collection there is therefore something of a full-circle moment.”

The iconic house had hoped to invite approximately 200 guests to creative director Virginie Viard’s first fashion show outside of Paris, but due to a second lockdown in France, the brand was forced to revise its plans. So aside from the cast and crew, the show had only one guest, Kristen Stuart who will be featured in ads for the collection photographed by Juergen Teller.

As for Viard’s pre-fall collection for Chanel, she was inspired by many aspects of the 16th century castle. Lining the infamous chateau are beautiful gardens created by King Henry II’s mistress, Diane de Poitiers. Viard channeled the parterre designs of the garden and the delicate flowers as she reinterpreted the feminine motifs into rich embroideries. It was “a sophisticated take on a “Disney” Viard stated in an interview with WWD.

The creative director was also mesmerized by the chateau’s black and white checkerboard floors, which was a reoccurring print theme throughout the collection as Viard applied the motif to chessboard sequin miniskirts to fringe tweed maxi skirts. Overall, the collection had a Goth princess aesthetic with dramatic capes, poet blouses, and plenty of transparent black dresses.

Viard also played tribute to Coco Chanel and Karl Lagerfeld with her own playful interpretation of trompe l’oeil looks, with reimagines of the castle in Lego-like sequin bricks, used as cummerbund sashes that cinch the waists of full satin ball skirts and strapless gowns. The chateau’s tapestries also inspired Viard’s intarsia knit and embroidered sweaters. While the collection at times veered towards costume, there were still plenty of signature tweed jackets that the Chanel customers crave.

CHRISTIAN DIOR

(Video credit: Christian Dior)

 

Living in lockdown has been hard on all of us. Even the most fashionable influencers have photographed themselves in sweats and furry slippers. The spring collections were even filled with leisure-inspired looks that we all craved while many of us work from home, but Maria Grazia Chiuri, the creative director of Christian Dior, has had enough. For her pre-fall collection, Chiuri created her most animated collection to date. In an interview with Vogue Runway, the creative director states, “Now, we desire something that gives us energy. Something completely different.”

“After this year—so intense, so depressing—I would like to come back to the fashion that started my career: the playfulness that attracted me and my generation to fashion, and transform the Dior codes through this attitude,” she said. For Chiuri, a child of the 1970s, those roads had to lead to Elio Fiorucci. “My generation was super influenced by pop culture,” Chiuri recalled in the Vogue Runway interview. “At Fiorucci we saw another way of fashion. It was probably the moment that fashion was born in Italy, because we left our traditional clothes to go to this toy store and discover clothes we’d never seen in our life: different materials, and clothes from around the world.”

Inspired by Pop Art, Chiuri created an uncharacteristically colorful collection that was lighthearted and fun. The cheeky collection was filled with unapologetically fun pieces: a leopard coat; a silver jumpsuit; mirrored sequined party dresses; logo transparent raincoats; bold check mini skirt suits; and a humorous T Rex print that was found on everything from dresses to tote bags. In her atelier, Chiuri said, “We decided that when this is all over, we’re each going to choose a different color dress and have a big party. That’s the dream: to dance together.”

Let the festivities begin!

CAROLINA HERRERA

Carolina Herrera’s Pre-Fall 2021 Collection. (Image credit: Carolina Herrera)

It was only two months ago that Vice President-elect Kamala Harris wore a white pantsuit from Carolina Herrera for her acceptance speech. Harris chose white as a tribute to the woman’s suffrage movement and her Carolina Herrera suit will be forever be synonymous with Harris’ ceiling-shattering moment.

For pre-fall, Carolina Herrera’s creative director, Wes Gordon, emphasized the more playful side of the brand’s aesthetic. Gordon hopes that by the time the collection hits stores (between May and June) the world will be on a clear path to vaccination.

Inspired by Mia Farrow, circa Rosemary’s Baby, there was a nod to the swinging sixties with black and white zebra prints, polka dot patterns. in an assortment of sizes and colors, as well as the houses signature bow motifs. The collection was joyful and energetic with looks that ran the gamut from brightly hued ballgown skirts to multi-colored dotted shirtdresses.

Gordon struck the perfect balance between youthful and sophistication.

OSCAR DE LA RENTA

Oscar de la Renta’s Pre-Fall 2021 Collection. (Image credit: Oscar de la Renta)

Laura Kim and Fernando Garcia’s collection for Oscar de la Renta was a joie de vivre celebration. The optimistic collection was filled with vibrant colors, fruity prints, and plenty of skin.

The design duo dug into the house’s archives and were inspired by a pineapple motif worn by Linda Evangelista in a 1992 Oscar collection; they were looking for something happy and light after this dark pandemic year we’re all living through. The pineapple pattern was found on several looks ranging from a block print on a simple green shift to a life-like color on a bandeau top with pouf sleeves. Other key looks included an array of brightly colored shorts, short day dresses, playful striped rompers, and a few strapless cocktail confections.

Garcia joked in an interview with Vogue Runway, “Piña coladas all day long.”

So tell us, how optimistic are you feeling in your fashion choices for 2021?

WEDDING BELLS: THE FALL 2021 BRIDAL COLLECTIONS GET SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE

- - Fashion Shows, Trends

A look from Julie Vino’s Fall 2021 Bridal Collection. (Photo: Courtesy of Julie Vino)

While the spring 2021 Woman’s RTW shows were a hybrid mix that has become coined as “Phygital Fashion Week”, bridal designers opted to present their collections digitally on the CFDA’s new ‘ Runway 360’. It seems that the designers have made the right decision as New York COVID numbers are steadily beginning to rise again.

The season kicked off with bridal designers – Justin Alexander, Savannah Miller, Viktor & Rolf, and a number of others – joining forces through Vow Pro, a new initiative that unites wedding professionals to help put an end to child marriage.

Looks from Victor & Rolf’s Mariage collection. (Photo Credit: Victor & Rolf Mariage)

On Oct. 9, the Justin Alexander Luxury Group held a roundtable discussion to raise money for Vow to End Child Marriage, the organization in charge of the Vow Pro initiative. Vow ambassador, Princess Mabel van Oranje of the Netherlands, led the discussion and was joined by Justin Alexander’s CEO and creative director Justin Warshaw, partner and development manager Joshua Grimes, and Viktor & Rolf’s CEO Andrea Collesei.

The virtual townhall brought awareness to Vow and the astonishing facts that surround child marriage. According to Vow, more than 12 million girls all over the world are married before the age of 18, some being as young as 8 years old. Child brides are often married to an older man they do not choose themselves and experience abuse throughout the marriage.

All involved in the Vow initiative are not only spreading awareness through social media, but many of the designers involved have also pledged to donate a percentage of sales from their bridal collections, as well as dresses, to the organization. One of Vow’s partners, Reem Acra, will even donate a fixed 10 percent of their sales from her iconic “Paradise” dress. So now brides can shop for a dress and know that a portion of the sale will go to a worthy cause.

The Vow organization will donate 100 percent of the donations made to the organization and distribute it to projects in countries where these underage weddings are taking place. The money is distributed by Girls First Fund, a donor collaborative that encourages community-led efforts to stop child marriage around the world.

As van Oranje reflected on her own wedding as “an absolutely wonderful day,” she continued saying that sadly not every woman has that same experience. “This is across continents, cultures, and religions,” she said. “For them, their wedding day is the day they have to leave school if they were ever allowed to go to school. It is a day when they have to go live with a man, whom they very often haven’t chosen themselves, and in many cases is older than they are. It is the day that they might get pregnant even though their bodies are not ready to give birth and they are really still children.”

In the socially-conscience world we live in, now, brides-to-be can easily get involved in a cause…the fight to end child marriage. Here are some of the strongest trends of the Fall 2021 Bridal season.

FIT FOR A PRINCESS

For fall 2021, bridal designers have created plenty of modern fairy tale gowns, from off-the-shoulder frothy confections to fully covered lace frocks. One thing is for sure, these traditional dresses are a dream come true.

A look from Ines di Santo’s Fall 2021 Collection. (Photo: Courtesy of Ines di Santo)

A look from Marchesa’s Fall 2021 Collection. (Photo: Courtesy of Marchesa)

Looks from Mira Zwillinger’s Fall 2021 Bridal Collection. (Photo: Courtesy of Mira Zwillinger)

A look from Alyne by Rita Vinieris’ Fall 2021 Bridal Collection. (Photo: Courtesy of Rita Vinieris)

A look from Gracy Accad’s Fall 2021 Bridal Collection. (Photo: Courtesy of Gracy Accad)

MINIMALISTIC CHIC

Simplicity rules as architectural-inspired gowns offer a modern and fresh take on bridalwear.

A look from Vivienne Westwood’s Fall 2021 Collection. (Photo: Courtesy of Vivienne Westwood)

A look from Amsale’s Fall 2021 Bridal Collection. (Photo: Courtesy of Amsale)

A look from Anne Barge’s Fall 2021 Bridal Collection. (Photo: Courtesy of Anne Barge)

A look from Alyne by Rita Vinieris’ Fall 2021 Bridal Collection. (Photo: Courtesy of Rita Vinieris)

A look from Willow’s Fall 2021 Bridal Collection. (Photo: Courtesy of Willow)

ALTERNATIVE BRIDE

Calling all fashionistas! These edgy bridal looks are effortlessly chic. From flights of fancy feathers to Sixties Mod space age, these looks are anything but traditional.

A look from Kaviar Gauche’s Fall 2021 Bridal Collection. (Photo: Courtesy of Kavier Gauche)

A look from Vivienne Westwood’s Fall 2021 Collection. (Photo: Courtesy of Vivienne Westwood)

A look from Halfpenny London’s Fall 2021 Bridal Collection. (Photo: Courtesy of Halfpenny London)

A look from Wild Wings’ Fall 2021 Bridal Collection. (Photo: Courtesy of Wild Wings)

THE COLD SHOULDER

The one-shoulder look has long been a favorite among the fashionable set and now the trend is hitting bridal in full force.

A look from Eisen Stein’s Fall 2021 Bridal Collection. (Photo: Courtesy of Eisen Stein)

A look from Wona Concept’s Fall 2021 Bridal Collection. (Photo: Courtesy of Wona Concept)

A look from Pronovias’s Fall 2021 Bridal Collection. (Photo: Courtesy of Pronovias)

A look from Amsale’s Fall 2021 Bridal Collection. (Photo: Courtesy of Amsale)

A look from Romona New York’s Fall 2021 Bridal Collection. (Photo: Courtesy of Romona New York)

CAPES OF GLORY

For fall 2021 designers created a variety of gorgeous capes; from airy floor sweeping versions to embellished capelets, these are the perfect toppers to complete your dream wedding look.

A look from Naeem Khan’s Fall 2021 Collection. (Photo: Courtesy of Naeem Khan)

A look from Julie Vino’s Fall 2021 Bridal Collection. (Photo: Courtesy of Julie Vino)

A look from Verdin’s Fall 2021 Bridal Collection. (Photo: Courtesy of Verdin)

A look from Edem’s Fall 2021 Bridal Collection. (Photo: Courtesy of Edem)

A look from Legends by Romona Keveza’s Fall 2021 Bridal Collection. (Photo: Courtesy of Legends by Romona Keveza)

AND THE BRIDE WORE PANTS…..

Let’s face it, due to the pandemic, who knows when brides can have over-the-top weddings again. So for the less formal affair, why not opt for a chic pant look! These range from sleek jumpsuits to high-waisted trousers that pair with delicate lace camisoles.

A look from Elizabeth Fillmore’s Fall 2021 Bridal Collection. (Photo: Courtesy of Elizabeth Fillmore)

A look from Savannah Miller’s Fall 2021 Bridal Collection. (Photo: Courtesy of Savannah Miller)

A look from Alexandra Grecco’s Fall 2021 Bridal Collection. (Photo: Courtesy of Alexandra Grecco)

A look from Morilee by Madeline Garder’s Fall 2021 Bridal Collection. (Photo: Courtesy of Morilee)

A look from Kosibah Asheyori’s Fall 2021 Bridal Collection. (Photo: Courtesy of Kosibah Asheyori)

ALL ABOUT SLEEVE

Let’s face it, in today’s uncertain times – global pandemic, economic crisis, and political upheaval – Zoom weddings may become more common. To stand out for your digital ceremony, why not make a bold sleeve/shoulder or both, statement?

A look from Lihi Hod’s Fall 2021 Bridal Collection. (Photo: Courtesy of Lihi Hod)

A look from Marchesa’s Fall 2021 Collection. (Photo: Courtesy of Marchesa)

A look from Francesca Miranda’s Fall 2021 Bridal Collection. (Photo: Courtesy of Francesca Miranda)

A look from Ines di Santo’s Fall 2021 Collection. (Photo: Courtesy of Ines di Santo)

A look from Elizabeth Fillmore’s Fall 2021 Bridal Collection. (Photo: Courtesy of Elizabeth Fillmore)

RISING HEMLINES

Today more than ever, brides have so many options. One of the most popular untraditional bridal trends is the mini dress. Many brides will get to choose from these contemporary silhouettes for their ‘change-into party dress’ après ceremony to dance the night away in fashionable comfort.

A look from Gracy Accad’s Fall 2021 Bridal Collection. (Photo: Courtesy of Gracy Accad)

A look from Francesca Miranda’s Fall 2021 Bridal Collection. (Photo: Courtesy of Francesca Miranda)

A look from Edem’s Fall 2021 Bridal Collection. (Photo: Courtesy of Edem)

A look from Ines di Santo’s Fall 2021 Bridal Collection. (Photo: Courtesy of Ines de Santo)

A look from Naeem Khan’s Fall 2021 Bridal Collection. (Photo: Courtesy of Naeem Khan)

So tell us, which bridal trend is your fav?

THAT’S A WRAP: THE SPRING 2021 SHOW SEASON COMES TO AN END

- - Fashion Shows

A golden look from Paco Rabanne’s Spring 2021 Runway. (Photo Credit: Courtesy of Paco Rabanne)

It’s a wrap! The Spring 2021 Fashion Season has officially come to an end. Now known as Phygital Fashion Month, a hybrid mix of digital and physical fashion presentations, Paris officially closed the season with a bang on  Tuesday, Oct. 7th. Some of the heavy hitter brands, Chanel, Balenciaga, Givenchy, Miu Miu, and Louis Vuitton turned video into an art form, while others chose to show their collection in the old-fashioned traditional runway format. Either way, it was a great season.

Sporty chic at Miu Miu’s Spring 2021 Collection. (Photo Credit: Courtesy of Miu Miu)

While many have debated how can the industry go forward with fashion presentations in the middle of a global pandemic, many designers responded with whimsical collections giving us all hope for a brighter and happier future. After all, the purpose of the runway to give us an escape from reality and transform us into the designer’s fictional collection world. Here are a few collections that ended Paris Fashion Week with bravado and excitement.

A Goth inspired wedding at Maison Margiela’s Spring 2021 Collection. (Photo Credit: Courtesy of Maison Margiela)

BALENCIAGA

Hope is the last thing to die” is an old Russian saying that inspired Balenciaga’s creative director Demna Gvasalia to move forward with creating his latest collection. Always one to defy fashion norms, Gvasalia and his husband created a music video to present his spring 2021 Balenciaga collection. In an interview with Vogue Runway, the creative director stated, “You know, I couldn’t wait not to do a show. It didn’t feel right with the way things are. So we’ve made a music video. My husband recorded that ’80s track by Corey Hart, ‘I wear my sunglasses at night’—because you know, is there anything more absurdly fashion than that? It’s also allegorical. You know, where is fashion going? It’s out there, searching in the dark at the moment, not seeing…

In the middle of  pandemic and global unrest, the video might have sounded like an apocalyptic film; but thankfully that was not the case as the video was a tribute to Balenciaga’s nighttime people; each subject was captured walking Paris’ dark streets to a purposeful destination, all dressed in Balenciaga’s latest looks, complete with sunglasses. The video captured the essence of Paris’ nightlife and glamour as each model strutted the streets heading to see friends – an activity we all long for as we’ve spent months in quarantine. The video was upbeat, alive and oh so clever. Streets as the runway. Brilliant!

Gvasalia has always been an activist for the environment and being in isolation only strengthened his passion for sustainable fashion. In a press release, the house released specifics: “93.5% of the plain materials in this collection are either certified sustainable or upcycled. 100% of the print bases have sustainable certifications.” With the resources of the Kering Group at hand, Gvasalia said, “we discovered we could do it quite easily, with the exception of the fibers that are in some of the existing fabrics. There are solutions if you look for them. There’s a need to revise things. To start a new chapter.” He believes in the future consumers will be reusing the clothes they already own. This begs the question: how will your favorite pieces stand the test of time?

For spring Gvasalia hopes to answer that question by creating a timeless collection of great pieces that ranged from terrific outerwear to cozy knits and cool athletic wear. While most of the collection was genderless, such as the oversized outerwear, the distressed hoodies, classic denim, plaid shirting and oversized tailored suiting. The designer also created a few effortless wrap dresses for day, but for evening, he opted for casual glam with a metallic lingerie inspired top paired with drawstring trousers. These are real clothes that are meant to be lived in and loved.

THOM BROWNE

Inspired by a childhood trip to Montreal to attend the 1976 Summer Olympics, Thom Browne can still remember Caitlyn Jenner winning the gold medal in the decathlon, that moment in time has stuck with him as he subtly references sport motifs in many of his collections. So, for his spring 2021 collection, Browne transports us to the future of the 2132 Olympics in a humorous video, which featured comedian Jordan Firstman and model Grace Mahary bantering like sports commentators on the moon, as models and flag bearers descend the stadium steps of the Los Angeles Coliseum; the location hosted the 1932 Olympics and was chosen for its Art Deco architecture.

While the video is set to take place in the future, the collection itself was inspired by the past, as Browne reinterprets the silhouettes of the ’20s and ’30s with plenty of drop waist dresses that were long and chic. The Deco silhouettes stole the show as Browne resumed his quirky experimental fashion that shifted the position of garments on the body, case in point, jackets worn as skirts.

Browne’s designs may at times be unconventional, but one cannot deny that he is a master craftsman. His his couture-like techniques were perfection: seersuckers made of cashmere, embroidery so thick it’s almost quilting, cable knits, intarsia suits, and trompe l’oeil dresses—all accentuating the intricate texture of each design. The collection was created in various shades of white as a Browne calls the hue, ‘a symbol of hope.’ In addition to traditional models, Browne also used actual Olympians in his video, suggesting that his quirky fashion can be worn by those brave enough to wear them.

With everyone spending quarantine time transfixed to their screens, Brown’s video has undoubtedly ushered in a new era in the fashion industry, “fashiontainment.” An interesting combo of fashion and entertainment. Watch this space.

GIVENCHY

A women’s look from Givenchy’s Spring 2021 Collection. (Photo Credit: Courtesy of Givenchy)

In June, Givenchy’s social media blew up when it featured a photo of the house’s new creative director, Matthew M. Williams, shirtless and tattooed in the house’s introduction of their new young designer. So naturally, Givenchy was the most anticipated collection of Paris Fashion Week. The collection was a perfect balance between the houses’ signature DNA and Williams’ elegant goth aesthetic, devil horns and all.

The debut collection was an edgy twist on established dress codes. There was no one theme per se, just simply great wearable pieces that Williams said he would personally wear. Digging into the archives of Givenchy, Williamson was inspired by the horn heels that were created during the Alexander McQueen’s era. There were also nods to Hubert de Givenchy: perfectly tailored suits with architectural-inspired details for both men and women, a basic denim jacket updated with unique reflective embroideries, tank tops with asymmetrical draping that were minimalistic perfection.

A men’s look from Givenchy’s Spring 2021 Collection. (Photo Credit: Courtesy of Givenchy)

For evening, Williamson continued with the bold, yet rich, aesthetic that he is known for. Key looks included: a geometric square shaped cape for both men and women, intricate ring and crystal embellishments found on delicate mesh dresses and hooded sweatshirts, a laser-cut bustier gown and plenty of backless evening dresses. It is clear that Williamson’s vision of the Givenchy woman is a modern and powerful one.

CHANEL

Even in a global pandemic, the House of Chanel managed to serve up glamour, in the most ostentatious way. The full-fledged show was held in Paris’s soaring Grand Palais with the runway backdrop spelling out, in huge letters, “CHANEL,” reminiscent of the iconic Hollywood sign. Chanel’s creative director Virginie Viard seemed to be inspired by the modern life of actresses from their glamorous red-carpet moments to their daily coffee runs and everything in between. Her collection was a perfect combination of Parisian cool mixed with L.A.’s laid-back style.

Viard’s marriage of these two worlds worked like charm. She paired her classic Chanel tweed jackets with petal pushers or stone-washed denim jeans or with tiny miniskirts in pastel colors, all reminiscent of the excess of the 1980s, The hybrid mix of these two cities came in the form of an elongated, robe-like, pink cardigan with black piping, paired with a multi-charm necklace and a logo tiara headband. Other key looks ranged from graphic black and white floral dresses; neon colored billboard-inspired prints on t-shirts and day dresses;  a sequin pantsuit for evening; and plenty of red-carpet feathered looks.

While many red carpet events have been put on hold due to COVID, it’s clear that Viard is looking ahead to brighter days.

LOUIS VUITTON

Louis Vuitton’s show was the official end to Paris Fashion Week and leave it to Nicolas Ghesquière to deliver the virtual reality experience we’ve all been waiting for.  The live show was held at the newly remodeled-by-LVM, La Samaritaine department store. Sprinkled among the audience were state-of-the-art 360-degree cameras that allowed spectators at home to pivot in their chairs, to watch models coming and going. It was almost like you were actually there!

My question this season was less about one theme; it was about this zone between femininity and masculinity,” Ghesquière explained in an interview with Vogue Runway. “This zone is highlighted by nonbinary people, people that are taking a lot of freedom dressing themselves as they want, and, in turn, giving a lot of freedom to all of us. I found it inspiring to explore what the items are that represent this wardrobe that is not feminine, not masculine. I wanted to zoom in on that section in between.”

The show opened with a “Vote” top (a statement tee that many in the fashion industry are making) paired with pleated chinos cinched at the waist with a black belt. This relaxed street-ready look set the tone for a wearable collection that we all want to own right now, such as duster coats, mini dresses, and khaki suits. Ghesquière also showed skater-inspired tees that were spliced into elaborate techno patchworks. The designer showed off his technical skills by creating expandable jackets that were built with panels, so that the customer can wear it either fitted or oversized. He also used this same technique for trousers giving the wearer the freedom to style them as he or she chooses. It was all a fresh approach to Ghesquière’s beloved ‘80s silhouette with a genderless concept.

Do you have a fav collection, now that the spring 2021 season has come to an end?

 

ON WITH THE SHOW & SHOULDERS! PARIS FASHION WEEK SPRING 2021

- - Fashion Shows

Looks off the runway of Yohji Yamamoto’s Spring 2021 Show. (Photo Credit: Alessandro Lucioni)

Welcome to the final stretch of the Spring 2021 Collections, which, let’s face it, has surely been the most unpredictable show season in history. With all four major fashion cities ascribing to a hybrid mix of digital and physical fashion presentations, we now have a new fashion term “Phygital FashionWeek.”

At Paris Fashion Week, September 28th – October 6th, French fashion houses are on track to follow Milan’s template: a combination of runway shows, short films, and everything in between. According to The Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode, this season will function as the online destination for all the spring/summer 2021 collections. According to the site’s official statement, the organization has complied with recommendations of public authorities in order to carry out successful presentations, ensuring the health and safety of everyone involved. We’d expect nothing less, especially since Europe’s Covid numbers are on the rise.

A detailed look from Chloé’s Spring 2021 Runway. (Photo Credit: Courtesy of Chloé)

Some Parisian designers this season have dropped out of the fashion show calendar altogether (similar to American designers) including heavy hitters such as Celine, Saint Laurent, Alexander McQueen, Off-White and Lanvin. But not to fret, Paris will have plenty of in-person shows including Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior, Balmain, Hermès, and others.

However, the majority of designers have opted to present their collection digitally, namely,  Balenciaga, Maison Margiela, Miu Miu, Dries Van Noten and Rick Owens. And, making his debut at Givenchy, Matthew Williams.

Paris Fashion Week started off with plenty of anticipation and excitement, but no one was expecting a protester to crash Dior’s runway show, and that was only on day 1. An environmental protester infiltrated the runway holding a yellow banner with the phrase “WE ARE ALL FASHION VICTIMS” written in bold letters with the extinction symbol used by environmental protesters appearing on the bottom corners of the flag.

An Extinction Rebellion Protester Crashes Dior’s Spring 2021 Show. (Photo Credit: Victor Boyko)

A spokeswoman for Extinction Rebellion — a climate group that previously called for a fashion boycott due to the industry’s impact on the environment — confirmed it was responsible for the runway protest, WWD reports.

Naturally guests were confused by the situation, as the woman did not speak or disrupt the flow of the show. It almost seemed that she was part of the show.

It was a surprise for everybody,” Pietro Beccari, chairman and CEO of Christian Dior Couture, said according to WWD. ″It was so well done, you couldn’t tell what it was.″

Sidney Toledano, chairman and CEO of LVMH Fashion Group, didn’t initially realize what was happening either: ″I had no idea what was going on. I saw the girl go past, and it looked like she was walking in the show,” Toledano said, according to WWD.

I don’t think we’re destroying the planet,” he continued. “We’re committed to reducing our environmental impact by cutting our carbon dioxide emissions, tracing our raw materials and so forth. They shouldn’t be targeting us. I think there are industries that pollute much more.”

Speaking about the effectiveness of the protest, Toledano said, “It wasn’t nasty or aggressive, but I think her message wasn’t clear. You couldn’t tell if it was part of the show or not.

Here’s a wrap up of some of the strongest collections in Paris thus far:

CHRISTIAN DIOR

Creating a collection during quarantine is no easy feat, as the “work from home” concept translated to seven months of leisurewear for many. So with this new reality in mind, Maria Grazia Chiuri, the Creative Director for Christian Dior, created a more intimate, wearable collection, as she tells Vogue Runway in an interview, “We had to approach this collection with an idea more of design. We are living in a different way and staying more at home within our intimacy. Our clothes have to reflect this new style of life.”

Chiuri is known for creating whimsical and intricate collections for Dior, so her more wearable collection was a far cry toward   cashmere lounge sets that have become the uniform of WFH dressing. The house of Dior’s DNA is in its feminine yet tailored suits. For spring, Chiuri created a new Dior silhouette: the jacket, shirt, and pant, in a more relaxed yet elegant aesthetic. Jackets ballooned into dressing gowns, shirts elongated into tunics, and trousers became slouchier in width. The collection was filled with Mediterranean paisleys, which took Chiuri back to her Italian roots, as well as airy goddess dresses, which have been a favorite of the designer for years.

Other key looks included a series of boxy trouser and skirt suits that highlighted the hourglass silhouette by softly emphasizing its waist, embracing a woman’s natural curves. These are formal yet comfortable pieces that will have you looking effortlessly chic during our new reality of the work-from-home lifestyle.

DRIES VAN NOTEN

A look from Dries Van Noten’s Spring 2021 Collection. (Photo Credit: Viviane Sassen)

COVID-19 has undoubtedly impacted all of us, but for some designers, it pushed them into new creative endeavors. Case in point…Dries Van Noten. For Spring 2021, the designer found himself in new territory, a director of photography and film. This was a first in his 34-year career, especially since Van Noten has never even had an advertising campaign!

Van Noten worked with Dutch photographer Viviane Sassen to shoot the images and the film. In an interview with Vogue Runway he stated that “she [Sassen] captures the moment in a very good way. There’s a directness and she works fast and spontaneously.” For spring, the designer presented both his men’s and womenswear collections simultaneously, which was also a first for Van Noten.

The photographs were shot on a beach and the setting was the perfect backdrop to the collection, which was filled with board shorts, Bermudas, swimsuits, netted knit tops, and easy cotton jackets worn by both boys and girls – all in psychedelic prints of the sun, moons, palm trees and bars of light. “We wanted to work around beauty [that] evokes energy—not one that makes you dream or linger on things that are past, which makes you nostalgic,” he says. “It had to push you to the future, to give energy.”

BALMAIN

At Balmain, it was all theatrics. The show opened with Olivier Rousteing, the house’s young creative director,  sitting on a wooden stool as six established models slowly strolled the runway from one side to the other as they tilted their hips and twirled to the audience’s delight. The mood was perfect. Rousteing adapted Balmain’s 1970s archived looks in gray cashmere along with the houses’ monogramed logo. The soundtrack for the show included Pierre Balmain himself saying, “Black is the only color young people can wear more successfully than old people. A young girl dressed in black is always tremendously beautiful. An older woman in black can be dreary. That’s why black is not an old color, it’s a young color. Black velvet is the epitome of young and sexy. Because there is also a touch of sex in fashion now.

Once the six models and Rousteing exited the runway, then the real show began, with four models (two male and two  female) in sharply tailored neon suits as The Weekend’s “Blinding Lights” tune echoed on the soundtrack. There was no streetwear here, no cozy WFH looks. This was pure power dressing with bold suits for men and women that ranged from wide shoulder jackets to pagoda-shouldered blazers. Rousteing also presented a group of grey suits that were very Armani.

The collection then segued to denim, a true staple in everyone’s wardrobe. The washed denim looks ranged from classic boot leg jeans and shorts, to a wide range of outerwear. Then came the eveningwear, which the Kardashian and Jenner sisters will surely rock, with two-piece dresses and slinky slip dresses. But the real showstopper was the two adorable kids that closed out the show in miniature gray suits. It was all so magnifique!

RICK OWENS

A global pandemic and political unrest were the perfect inspiration for Rick Owens and his post-apocalyptic collection. Let’s just say that as the godfather of Goth Glam, this collection did not disappoint his fans. His women’s show was titled “Phlegethon.” In Greek mythology, the Phlegethon was one of the five rivers of the Underworld, less famous than the Styx, but just as deadly. In Dante’s Inferno, it was a river of blood that boiled souls. Dark and eerie yes, but the clothes were Owens at his best.

Owens channeled Tina Turner in “Thunderdome” with his powerful shoulder looks. Maybe he was sending us all a message? The axiom of  having “broad shoulders,”  which is the ability and/or willingness to accept multiple demands and responsibilities. Seems appropriate for these times. And there were vests and leather cutoffs that looked like they could double as tactical gear. This dystopian-like collection was filled with the accessory of the moment, facemasks, because in today’s world, it’s a necessity AND NOT OPTIONAL. “A mask kind of works with my clothes,” Owens said in an interview with Vogue Runway, “but it’s also a vote. It’s also promoting consideration of others. You might not believe in a mask, but it sends the right message.

The allure of an Owens show is that as dark and disturbing as his theme may be—as hellish as we all feel—he inevitably leaves you excited and energized. There was also a message of hope and the promise of better days ahead, as Owens showed his softer side with shades of pink, red and yellow to transform his customer to a happier place.

LOEWE

A look from Loewe’s Spring 2021 Collection. (Photo Credit: Courtesy of Loewe)

Loewe’s spring collection is a joyful celebration of fashion in a time when we can all use a jolt of happiness. In an interview with Vogue Runway, creative director Jonathan Anderson stated, “We have to start loving fashion again. We don’t know what tomorrow’s going to bring. So let’s enjoy it!

Just one page of Loewe’s spring 2021 Lookbook says it all. You can feel the excitement of the collection as the models are all in animated and energetic poses, bringing the collection to life. As for the clothes, Anderson created a whimsical collection that plays with volume and shape. Key looks included a puffy white dress ruched with parachute tape; a generously layered black taffeta trapeze dress; a crisp scalloped-edge broderie anglaise dress with wires sewn into the collar and skirt; as well as balloon-shaped trousers and sleeves.

These humorous pieces will surely leave a smile on your face.

ISABEL MARANT

Just like Jonathan Anderson’s Loewe collection, Isabel Marant similarly turned out a lively and upbeat collection with a runway show that may have caused some guests to feel uncomfortable, because after all, we are still living through a pandemic. Marant staged her show at the Palais Royal and was billed as ‘a night out in the club,’ reminiscent of  happier times. While we all long for a return to normalcy, it was reported that guests at Marant’s show plonked themselves down so close to each other, with zero respect for social distancing. Though you really can’t blame the designer if guests choose not to sit six feet apart from one another in an outdoor venue,  but the last thing anyone wants is a super spreader event like the one held last week in the Rose Garden at the White House, where eight people so far have been infected with the virus, including the President and First Lady.

In an interview with Vogue Runway, Marant stated, “For me, fashion is about enjoying life. It has to be positive. It’s a release of energy to people, putting bad vibes behind.” There were no bad vibes here, only ‘80s-centric clothes suspended someplace between Saint-Germain and Manhattan, all with Marant’s signature glamour and with an extra dosage of high shine and luster. Looks ranged from mutton sleeve tops paired with metallic overalls to embroidered bohemian blouses and micro shorts for Marant’s version of daywear. Temperatures rose for her evening portion with mini-dresses in glossy fabrics and a leather corset top paired with shimmering leggings. While Marant’s collection may be a tad too sexy for the state of the world today, it does give us the promise that in time, we will return to “the old days.”

STREET STYLE STARS

And what would Paris Fashion Week be without some great Street Style looks? Sometimes the best shows in Paris are viewed on its city streets. Which reminds me…be sure to catch the new 10 episode Netflix series, Emily in Paris, which stars Lily Collins as Emily, and was created by Darren Star of Sex in the City fame and with costumes by Patricia Field. Get ready for some very fashionable moments!

Paris brought back the Street Style Stars. (Photo Credit: Acielle for Style du Monde)

Streetstyle Star Bryanboy attends Paris Fashion Week. (Photo Credit: Acielle for Style du Monde)

Actress Maisie Williams and Reuben Selby attending the Dior Show. (Photo Credit: Acielle for Style du Monde)

Shows may still be going on, but tell us, which show was your favorite so far?

 

LONDON AND MILAN SPRING 2021 FASHION SHOWS TAKE THE PLUNGE

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Bora Aksu’s Spring 2021 Presentation. (Photo: Courtesy of Bora Aksu)

ON WITH THE SHOW!

While New York showed only a handful of live shows and presentations due to Covid concerns, at London and Milan fashion week it was almost business as usual. London designers staged over 30 live shows, presentations, fashion events or personal appointments, while Milan blended 28 physical shows with 24 digital ones, making Milan, thus far, the city with the most in real life showings. As American buyers, the  fashion press (and the rest of us) virtually crossed the pond for London and Milan fashion week, we all got to watch some pretty amazing spring 2021 fashion in the privacy of our home, sitting on our pandemic-safe couch. Gotta love technology!

LONDON’S CALLING

A look from Gareth Pugh’s Spring 2021 Collection. (Photo: Courtesy of Gareth Pugh)

Stating that all live events would adhere to social distancing and hygiene g regulations, the British Fashion Council kicked off LFW on September 17th and wrapped up on September 22. Burberry opened the season with a live-streamed outdoor show to rave reviews. Throughout the week 80 designers took part in London Fashion Week – 30 IRL (in real life) and 50 digitally.

The week hosted a mix of womenswear and menswear designers, but what really stood out was that the season will no longer be known as Spring 2021, but rather “London Fashion Week September 2020,” in a move towards a more season-less approach.

Here are the highlights:

BURBERRY

Riccardo Tisci opened London Fashion Week with a bang. The influential designer live-streamed his Burberry show in a hauntingly beautiful forest. His theme: “a love story between a mermaid and a shark.” The dark theme was the perfect parable as to how we’ve all felt the past seven months locked in quarantine and working from home. Tisci’s under-the-sea analogy was anything but kitsch. The collection was rather chic and sophisticated with beautiful shades of blues; “Blue is the new beige,” Tisci teased in an interview with Vogue Runway, name-checking Burberry’s signature color.

Being in quarantine with his 92 year-old mother and relatives in his childhood home near Lake Cuomo was a breath of fresh air for the designer and gave him a new sense of appreciation for life. According to his Vogue interview, the rootsy surroundings of his quarantine made him reconnect with his childhood and the innocent mindset with which he pursued those dreams. “You open the drawer of your past and see how far you’ve gone as a person, how much you’ve done for yourself, and for others. Your dreams have come true,” he reflected.

His collection for Burberry was filled with sea-centric references – from illustrations to embellishments – that were innocent and raw. Tisci’s shark motif has been a signature of the designer from the start of his career. As for his mermaids, Tisci worked with peplum shapes, glistening dresses, and spliced trench coats.

Tisci perfectly infused Burberry’s classic aesthetic with his signature street-style. Sometimes, going back to your roots is what a designer needs to find their footing again, as his mother would say, Bravo Riccardo!

DURO OLOWU

A look from Duro Olowu’s presentation. (Photo Credit: Luis Monteiro for Duro Olowu)

There is no doubt about it, 2020 will forever be known as the year of the sweatsuit. But as  Duro Olowu puts it quite simply in an interview with Vogue Runway, “Ease doesn’t have to mean track pants.”

Olowu presented his collection to a handful of editors and buyers in his London boutique. The joyful collection was filled with bold colors and striking prints that were inspired by Emma Amos, an African American painter who died in May of this year. Olowu infused bold hand-painted striped prints that were chic and sophisticated, case in point, the elongated tunic over wide leg pants, gave off an elegant loungewear vibe.

The designer is also experimenting with new shapes, focusing on sarong-like midi-length silhouettes that feel fresh and new. His line-up was filled with 1950s lean looks that were refined yet youthful. These clothes are a promise to brighter days ahead and they definitely will put a smile on your face.

MOLLY GODDARD

A look from Molly Goddard’s Spring 2021 Collection. (Photo Credit: Ben Broomfield for Molly Goddard)

Molly Goddard held intimate appointments in her studio as she presented her eclectic spring collection filled with bright, frothy, tulle confections. Mannequins were scattered throughout the space, each wearing one on Goddard’s jubilant looks. The collection was filled with ruffled, voluminous skirts and dresses, all in vibrant colors, as well as checkerboard neon sweaters, an A-line anorak dress and even floral printed denim pants.

Also, for the first time, Goddard decided to offer many of her unique dresses in white, which would make the perfect wedding dress for the cool young bride who wants an anything but traditional dress.

SIMONE ROCHA

A look from Simone Rocha’s spring 2021 collection. (Photo: Courtesy of Simone Rocha)

With all the COVID-19 U.K. regulations set in place, Simone Rocha held an intimate presentation at the Hauser & Wirth gallery. The cavernous white walls were the perfect backdrop for Rocha’s beautifully, intricate looks to come to life. In an interview with Vogue Runway, Rocha stated “I’m not going to lie: I’ll be the first to say I love runway shows, now that the pace of shows has been stripped away, I wanted to find a space to represent that. It’s important to me to find a way to physically share the collection, just for the silhouette, texture, and weight of it. Clothes are made of cloth, and emotions, and they come to life on a body.”

Rocha’s collection was filled with voluminous, rounded shapes in gilded brocades, rich cotton embroideries, delicate pearl embroideries, and intricate scalloped edge cottons. Close up, the layers held little messages: on tulle veiling, patterns of castles; in the broderie anglaise, SR monograms. “Castles in faraway places,” Rocha laughed. “I think that’s the escapism we’re all craving.”

ERDEM

Just like Riccardo Tisci for Burberry, Erdem Moralioglu was inspired by fantasy for his spring 2021 collection and also opted to hold an audience-less runway show in the English forest. Moralioglu spent his quarantine time reading. His collection was inspired by a Susan Sontag novel, The Volcano Lover, Sontag’s portrait of the 18th-century beauty Emma Hamilton who married a volcanologist obsessed with Grecian vases and had a passionate love affair with Lord Nelson.

Moralioglu, like his inspiration, looked to beauty during this fearful time. The designer featured regal 18th century-inspired floral jacquard dresses with puff-sleeves juxtaposed against cozy cardigans, military-inspired outerwear and an embroidered admiral jacket.

In an interview with Vogue Runway, Moralioglu stated, “I get asked the same question: Are women’s tastes and wants changing now, given the situation? On the contrary, we have a customer who’s still buying special pieces. It’s the want for something you can wear in five and 10 years. As I enter my 15th year doing this, the most thrilling thing is seeing someone wearing your work from 10 years ago. I’ve always been obsessed with permanence. When it feels like the end of the world, doesn’t someone need a pink moiré hand-embroidered gown?”

CHRISTOPHER KANE

An abstract painterly look from Christopher Kane. (Photo: Courtesy of Chrisopher Kane)

If this pandemic has taught us anything (other than the importance of wearing a mask, frequent hand-washing and social distancing) it’s a time for reflection, a reminder not to put off things that bring you joy. Christopher Kane did just that in his spring 2021 collection. The designer revisited his love of painting using multicolored glitter that he experimented with as a kid. Kane’s flagship store was turned into an exhibition space for his collection presentation, with easels and canvases featuring his paintings that he’d created during lockdown.

As for the clothes, which were displayed on mannequins, Kane recreated his artwork onto coats, dresses, and tops. Key looks included a brushstroke print long sleeve midi dress, a paint dot splatter shirt, and a brush-stroke striped sweater. With this charming collection one thing is clear, Kane had a lot of fun creating these pieces.

 

 

MILANO MODA

Dolce & Gabbana’s Spring 2021 patchwork show was inspired by Sicily. (Photo Credit: Gorunway.com)

Leave it to the Italians to add a new word to fashion’s lexicon. Milan’s Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana billed the city’s spring 2021 shows as a “phygital fashion week.” Phygital fashion week is a portmanteau, a blend of physical, in person shows, and a digital show, a format that has become essential during COVID.  Milan’s phygital fashion week took place from September 22 – 28th.

Everyone in the fashion community is asking themselves…is this hybrid model of phygital shows and presentations the future of fashion week? Only time will tell.

PRADA

Prada was hands-down the most anticipated show of the season and rightfully so, since this was the debut of the Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons collaboration. The partnership was announced last February, pre-pandemic lockdown, and it was probably the most celebrated fashion news of 2020. The designers staged a digital runway show that was viewed on Prada.com and then opened up to a conversation with Prada and Simons answering questions that were submitted online. It was a genius move, giving Prada consumers the chance to listen to their “backstage-conversation.”

As for the clothes, a new Prada ‘uniform’ was introduced. You may remember that in the ‘90s Prada’s minimalistic uniform looks launched Miuccia Prada into fashion stardom. According to Miuccia and Simmons, the new Prada is all about paring back and the streamlining of excesses to get at what’s essential. The collection’s 40 looks were composed of long, narrow trousers; a sleeveless, tunic-length tee with the famous triangle logo; statement making outerwear with clutched coats; full skirts; holey (not the religious kind) knits; all worn with pointy-toed slingback kitten heels in a contrasting color. “How Miuccia dresses is very often a kind of uniform one way or another, and that was direct inspiration for me for the show,” Simons said in the interview.

The collection was filled with past references that became signatures for both designers. Case in point, Prada’s spring 1996 show of “ugly prints” reemerged on hoodies and matching full skirts, as well words and graphic silk-screened motifs on pastel shift dresses, a representation of Simmons’ personal work.

Miuccia and Simons lived up to the fashion world’s anticipation and thus far was the show of the season.

FENDI

Fendi opened Milan Fashion Week with the first in-person, live, runway show, featuring both their men’s and women’s collections. And the fashion crowd couldn’t be happier. The show opened with photographic prints taken by Silvia Venturini Fendi from her bedroom window during lockdown. These soft graphic prints were found on everything from transparent shirt dresses, to tailored blazers and men’s suits.

As Italy was the first of the European cities to suffer from Covid 19, spending several months in lock-down mode, Fendi believes this will forever change the way we dress, and answered the call with sophisticated alternatives for WFH (work-from-home) looks. The collection had plenty of chic loungewear and pajama fashion, as well as floaty wood-printed caftans. Fendi closed the show with bedding-inspired looks that ranged from cozy satin quilted outerwear to pale lace embroidered linen tops and skirts. “This reminded me of Karl [Lagerfeld],” said Fendi pre-show in an interview with Vogue Runaway: “He had a love for bed linen, he had a big collection.”

This collection marked the final transition of Silvia’s decades long collaboration with Karl Lagerfeld, and her latest collaboration with newly appointed creative director Kim Jones. This announcement will surely make Fendi the most anticipated show for the Fall 2022.

ETRO

Etro’s Spring 2021 Show. (Photo Credit: Gorunway.com)

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a difficult and terrifying time for us all, but if there is any silver lining to this nightmare, it is that the lockdowns have brought many families back together. This is the case for Veronica Etro, as she spent her time during lockdown at home with her mom as they listened to old Neapolitan songs, “we were bewitched by the serenity, the timelessness, and the elegance” Veronica Etro stated during her pre-show press conference. The music made her reminisce about her “2019 trip to Ischia, Capri, Naples, and Positano, and—maybe because we were so patriotic during that period—I thought, okay, let’s make the collection all about Italy.”

Veronica dug deep into her family’s print archives and turned out a youthful and vibrant collection filled with effortless vacation looks that ranged from a sexy scarf print bikini worn under a glamorous open front maxi skirt, to charming marinière knits. There were plenty of effortlessly chic printed dresses; flirty nautical themed bra tops and shorts; as well as youthful paisley shorts worn with menswear inspired shirts.

This charming collection was the perfect beach escape for next summer and beyond.

ALBERTA FERRETTI

A look from Alberta Ferretti’s Spring 2021 Show. (Photo Credit: Corunway.com)

Alberta Ferretti also opted for a live, in-person show this season, as she held her runway extravaganza in the open air in one of the courtyards of Milan’s Castello Sforzesco, as guests enjoyed the sunshine. The perfect backdrop to Ferretti’s signature romantic aesthetic.

The collection was a stark contrast to the state of the world. In a pre-interview with Vogue Runway, Ferretti stated, “In this difficult situation, so harsh and unforgiving in many ways, my gut instinct was to embrace kindness and a certain seductive softness. I believe that it stems from self-confidence and from the acceptance of the natural power of femininity.

Ferretti’s approach to the season was practical, as she offered her women a wardrobe that fits all of their needs. The designer showed a variety of feminine dresses that ranged from ethereal, flowing, maxi dresses to flirty macramé lace mini dresses – all with a bohemian yet sophisticated hand. The collection also featured plenty of every-day pieces, such as pastel denim pants, high-waisted fitted trousers paired with bralettes, embroidered tops and cropped blouses. Overall, Ferretti’s collection was a sophisticated and fresh approach to femininity.

VERSACE

Always with a flair for the dramatic, Donatella Versace literally took her viewers “under the sea” for her spring 2021 collection: the aquatic theme being a reoccurring motif for many designers this season. Versace staged a full on live-streamed show, with no audience, just her team. The runway’s backdrop…the imagined ruins of Atlantis with a water current streaming down its projected walls. The mythical backdrop was the perfect setting for Versace’s provocative ocean-themed collection.

Ever since the Versace label launched in 1978, by her beloved brother Gianni, the brand has always been known for its sex appeal and its loud and vibrant prints and colors. For spring 2021, Donatella embraced the DNA of the house and it was a joyful ode to life, featuring both menswear and womenswear looks. Versace started off with a maritime motif with tailored navy blazers and shorts. Then the collection took on a Malibu Barbie twist, with vibrant prints in pumped-up colors. Starfish print dresses that ranged from sheaths to baby-doll silhouettes; coral reef motif and ocean themes made their way onto everything, from skirts and tops to shorts and swimwear. Versace also showed moments of ingenuity with micro-pleated dresses trimmed with twirly ruffles, which resembled a graceful jellyfish swimming in the ocean.

Versace stated that her archival sea collection was also a metaphor for a new world of wonders, which translated to a diverse runway. The co-ed show was cast with a variety of ethnicities, as well as diversified sizes, embracing her message of body positivity and gender-nonconformity. Brava Donatella for such an inclusive representation of the world.

MOSCHINO

Let’s give it up to Jeremy Scott for producing the most creative show of the season. The digital masterpiece was an elaborate puppet show with marionette replicas of his favorite models walking down a runway and doll replications of his audience. It was a visual delight that eased the stress of a world gone mad. In an interview with Vogue Runway, Scott stated,  “The best thing I could do for everyone who’s stressed about the election, the pandemic, social unrest, and the future was to give the gift of fantasy and take us away from all of it for a few minutes; let us enjoy this little fashion world of ours.”

Scott’s whimsical show may have come at a huge expense, but it was a much needed spectacular visual experience. As for the clothes, they were each re-proportioned to fit the dimensions of the marionettes without losing their authentic properties. The collection was an homage to haute couture and brought Scott’s masterful construction to the forefront of the collection, case in point, a cocktail dress that was sliced open, revealing another dress under it with a photograph of an inside-out embroidered dress. Other key looks included a feather trim gown with an exposed bone corseted bust, deconstructed cocktail dresses, as well as spliced outerwear.

When asked if fashion is still relevant, Scott  stated “People are like, ‘Sweatpants forever!’ But I love exciting things that are one-of-a-kind and refined. We’re all desperate for that. I constantly kept getting dressed up every day even if I wasn’t seeing people. It’s part of who I am.” The London and Milan shows seemed to prove that point.

So far it looks like NYFW, LFW and MFW are all channeling happier times. Reminds us of the old 1920s song by Jack Yellen & Milton Ager, Happy Days Are Here Again, became the the theme song of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Presidential campaign in 1932 and is still played at Democratic conventions today.

So tell us, do you have a fav collection?

NEW YORK SPRING 2021 FASHION SHOWS – A SEASON UNLIKE ANY OTHER

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An image from Rodarte’s spring 2021 collection. (Photo Credit: Daria Kobayashi for Rodarte)

The Spring 2021 collections are in full swing as each of the major fashion cities adjust to the new norm. Many have opted for a hybrid model, in-person show and digital format. Earlier this year, the men’s collections, resort and couture, have all shown their collection digitally and the results were mostly considered a flop, at least on social media. According to an article published in BoF on July 27, 2020:  “Of more than a dozen major luxury brands that released content tied to men’s fashion week in Milan and Paris, or to their resort collections, none came close to making the same splash on Instagram as the corresponding shows did last year, according to tracking firm Tribe Dynamics. On average, digital shows, videos and presentations generated less than one-third as much online engagement. The all-digital London Fashion Week, which mainly featured smaller brands, also saw a steep drop in buzz, with 55 percent less social media engagement than in January, according to Launchmetrics, another tracker of online activity.” Even the couture season, which offered fanciful films and digital shows did not gain the traction the industry was hoping for.

But before we delve into our coverage of NYFW, we once again ask ourselves, “who are these shows really for”? Traditionally, shows are for buyers, and editors. These industry insiders, attend to show their support for the brands, and to be inspired for the season to come.  Of course, as an industry, the organizers of the events, as well as the cities that host them, have much to lose if a brand chooses a digital format. Before NY fashion week began, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that the bi-annual event (which generated millions of dollars in revenue for the city pre-pandemic), would be permitted to take place, as long as participants were in “strict compliance” with New York health and safety guidelines. In a statement made in August, Cuomo stated that “New York City is the fashion capital of the world, and New York Fashion Week celebrates the ingenuity of this city, and our unmatched creative talent,” It’s not just talent (and entire business sectors like textile manufacturing and production) that New York Fashion Week supports. It was/is, also a major revenue source. According to past estimates, fashion shows pre-Covid generated nearly $900 million per year, with up to $500 million in tourist spending.

With the new Covid restrictions, designers began asking themselves, whether it was worth investing all this time and money for a show, when an outdoor event is capped at 50 people and an indoor event capped at 50% of the venue’s capacity.” Well for some designers it was. Case in point, Jason Wu’s tropical paradise show on a NYC rooftop.

A look from Grey by Jason Wu. (Photo Credit: Dan Lecca for Jason Wu)

So, here’s the scoop. The official New York Fashion Week Schedule that was released by The Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) and was condensed to only 3 days this season, as a result of the coronavirus pandemic (dates were September 13-16). The CFDA supplemented NYFW with its Runway360 digital platform, this allowed designers to present their latest collections at a time that worked best for them, at any time throughout the year.

The COVID-19 pandemic has upended the global fashion industry and hit New York particularly hard,” said Steven Kolb, CEO of the CFDA. “Fashion week is a critical time when brands are able to connect with press, retailers and consumers, and I’m proud of how quickly the CFDA pivoted to support the needs of the industry by creating Runway360. We are excited to see 10 new American brands on the schedule – many for the first time – who might not have had the opportunity to share their collections to a global audience without access to Runway360. We’re also excited to highlight the incredible talent coming out of Harlem’s Fashion Row and announce the return of New York Men’s Day. In the face of unprecedented challenges and uncertainty within our industry, the American fashion community has once again come together to support each other and prove its resilience.”

The New York shows kicked off with Jason Wu’s IRL (in real life) intimate fashion show and ended with Tom Ford; but their where plenty of designers who opted out of this seasons fashion week including Marc Jacobs, The Row, Tory Burch, Proenza Schouler, and Michael Kors, to name a few.

Here are a few ways designers got creative when presenting their collections this season (Shows can be accessed at NYFW.com and through the CFDA’s Runway360)

JASON WU

Jason Wu officially opened NY Fashion Week with the first runway presentation for his contemporary label Grey by Jason Wu. The designer took his intimate audience away on a mental trip to Tulum. Wu created a tropical paradise on a NYC rooftop and it was spectacular. Wu’s joyful collection was filled with effortlessly chic pieces, perfect for today’s world, where woman want to look great and feel comfortable.

The show opened with a rust-colored maxi-dress with pockets and bold broderie anglaise detailing just above the hem, which set the mood for the entire collection. Wu showed pleated skirts with bra tops, easy dresses in bold prints, a striped tunic and matching trouser, and tailored Bermuda shorts and blazers. His collection was filled with happy and vibrant clothes, perfect to brighten the gloomy days of Covid that we are all facing.

REBECCA MINKOFF

Rebecca Minkoff’s Presentation featured fall looks that stayed true to her signature boho-rock aesthetic. (Photo Credit: Randy Brooke for Wire Image)

Rebecca Minkoff presented her fall 2020 collection during a two-hour presentation on the rooftop of Spring Studios. The event had a limited audience of fashion influencers and buyers. The social-media savvy designer livestreamed the event on Instagram and gave her followers a walk-through of her collection which was an ode to Manhattan and Motherhood, translated to effortless pieces with a cool twist. The collection was filled with pretty boho styled dresses, great knit sweaters, chic outerwear, and plenty of badass leather pieces.

HARLEM’S FASHION ROW STYLE AWARDS

A look from Rich Fresh. (Photo :Courtesy of Rich Fresh)

Harlem’s Fashion Row hosted its 13th annual Style Awards and a fashion show virtually on Sept. 13. The video will be made available to the public on Sept. 19.

The Style Awards honored British Vogue editor-in-chief Edward Enninful with the Maverick of the Year Award; Teen Vogue editor-in-chief Lindsay Peoples Wagner with the Editor of the Year Award; Pyer Moss designer Kerby Jean-Raymond with the Designer of the Year award; and Nate Hinton with the Publicist of the Year award.

The organization selected three talented designers to present their collections— Kimberly Goldson, Rich Fresh and Kristian Loren.

A look from Kimberly Goldson. (Photo: Courtesy of Kimberly Goldson)

A look from Kristian Lorén. (Photo: Courtesy of Kristian Lorén)

KHAITE

A look from Khaite’s Spring 2021 Collection. (Photo: Courtesy of Khaite)

It was just over a year ago that actress Katie Holmes wore a cashmere Khaite bra and cardigan look on the streets of New York City and the brand instantly became a must have label among the fashion set. The brand’s leather jackets for fall could hardly be kept in stock. For spring 2021, Khaite designer, Catherine Holstein, kept true to the brands cool girl appeal. Holstein offered plenty of sexy body-skimming knits and seductive ruched dresses, and romantic puff shoulder tops and airy evening frocks. The designer also featured a few of her signature cozy cashmere sweaters that have made her a fashion darling. These are keep-forever investment pieces that are timeless yet modern and youthful.

IMITATION OF CHRIST

A look from Imitation of Christ. (Photo: Courtesy of Imitation of Christ)

It’s been 20 years since Tara Subkoff first presented her theatrical show for her label Imitation of Christ. And after a long hiatus, Subkoff is officially back. For spring 2021, the designer put on simultaneous presentations, one in NYC the other in Los Angeles, but they were not be identical. Each presentation consisted of acapella singers and skateboarders in IOC looks. FYI- Imitation of Christ is known for its one-of-a-kind pieces. Resurrecting existing pieces is the ideology that Imitation of Christ was founded on. No two looks are ever the same.

For spring, Subkoff’s inspiration was skateboarders and created a collection of glamorous activewear. There were vintage slips attached to sports jerseys, and oversized tees with ruffled trimmings.

Subkoff sourced some of her pieces from the luxury consignment ecommerce site RealReal. The site will offer the spring collection for sale in see-now, buy-now fashion, with a portion of the proceeds being donated to Fridays for Future (environmentalist Greta Thunberg’s nonprofit organization).

WOLK MORAIS

Looks from Wolk Morais Spring 2021 collection. (Photo: Courtesy of Wolk Morais)

While some designers are just releasing lookbook style images, others like Brian Wolk and Claude Morais, the duo behind the label Wolk Morais, are creating attention grabbing short films. For 26 nights the duo drove around Los Angeles pulling up the homes of several friends in the industry, from models and actors to fashion consultants, handed them a bag of clothes, and then filmed them without ever leaving their car.

In an interview with Vogue, where you can also exclusively watch the video, Wolk explained, “we wanted to create a collection that was not only responsible and sustainable, but also content that tells a story about what’s going on right now.

Here is the Vogue link to the video:

https://www.vogue.com/fashion-shows/spring-2021-ready-to-wear/wolk-morais

The duo stayed true to their specialty: fabulous tailoring. And the collection had plenty of it. Herringbone tweed suits, double-breasted waistcoats, cropped jackets and a slew of Liberty print shirts (all of fabrics were upcycled or sourced within a 12 mile radius of their studio). But among all the haberdashery, there were a few glamorous looks as well. Case in point, a 1930s inspired sequin bias-cut gown, a perfect look for any young starlet.

TOMO KOIZUMI

Tomo Koizumi is known for creating jaw-dropping fashion moments that are so breathtakingly beautiful that one cannot help but feel an emotional connection to. For his spring collection, the avant-garde designer produced a creative lookbook photographed in Japan. Koizumi’s work blends his frothy confections with aspects of traditional Japanese culture. The designer collaborated with a bridal company and was inspired by wedding traditions. There was an assortment of eccentric white gowns with explosions of tulle.

Koizumi also showed plenty of rainbow-hued party dresses, cropped tops and miniskirts – all created with a new ruffling technique which created a more flower or starburst affect. It was all so fun and creative, that one cannot help but smile when looking at his creations.

ULLA JOHNSON

Living in such uncertain times, the pandemic has forced us all to search our souls and figure out who we want to be moving forward; many believe that the world should not go back to the way it was. It is during these times that we need uplifting, more and art and beauty to inspire us. This season, Ulla Johnson staged a full-on fashion show that was audience-less at Roosevelt Island’s Four Freedoms Park. The backdrop, Manhattan’s skyscrapers, provided a familiar backdrop, a reminder of the strength and resilience of the city, while we all may have lost a lot this year, we are, as Governor Cuomo says, “New York Strong.”

The level of workmanship and the philosophy involved in Ulla Johnson’s intricate collection was best stated by the designer herself. In an interview with Vogue, Johnson stated, “We’ve all been doing a lot of deep soul searching about the relevancy of what we do—the runway being one component, but also just clothing in general. For us we’re committed more than ever to creating this transportive beauty and continuing our commitment to craft.” Consider the collection’s look one and two, which were entirely hand-crafted outside the U.S., in countries heavily impacted by the pandemic and done so safely over a five-month period.

The collection was filled with Johnson’s signature bohemian inspired frocks, acid wash denim jumpsuits, billowing sleeved tops and ruffled waist trousers. The designer delivered a joyous, wearable collection even during the most difficult of times.

TOM FORD

A look from Tom Ford’s Spring 2021 Collection. (Photo: Courtesy of Tom Ford)

The spring 2021 trend of joyful clothes continued as Tom Ford closed out New York Fashion Week. After months of isolation, Ford wanted his spring collection to bring hope. According to an interview with Vogue, Ford stated “The last thing I want to see are serious clothes. I think we need an escape. I think we want to smile. I know what’s going on in our world right now doesn’t make us want to smile. So that’s what I’ve done: hopeful clothes that make you smile.”

Ford’s collection was full of glamour and gusto as he found inspiration in a documentary about the fashion illustrator Antonio Lopez and the ’70s models Pat Cleveland and Donna Jordan, whom Lopez sketched. The Seventies inspired collection was a throwback to his days at Gucci, and it was oh so fabulous. The collection oozed sexiness with shirts that were unbuttoned to the navel and paired with pull-on logo waistband trousers, slinky dresses in colorful florals, spicy animal print jumpsuits and glamorous swimsuits and caftans. After all, isn’t over-the-top glam what Tom Ford does best?

Have you been watching the shows? Care to share your fav?

FALL 2020 COUTURE: A TRULY DIGITAL FASHION WEEK

- - Fashion Shows

Balmain’s Fall 2020 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Balmain)

If you’re a faithful follower of the UoF blog, then you know what we’ve been asking for years… “are fashion shows still relevant”?

This question has long been debated among the fashion set as well. But the fashion industry, an industry whose DNA is ALL about CHANGE & TRENDS, has historically been reluctant to abandon live runway shows and try something new. It has literally taken a pandemic to get them off the dime!

Alas! For this Fall 2020 Haute Couture season, the industry has given the digital runway world a whirl. However, reviews of digital shows for this couture season have been mixed. Many fear that if digital IS the future of fashion, then the economies of Paris, Milan, London and New York’s will greatly suffer. Why? Because fashion week in each of these cities brings many other financial benefits. Buyers, clients and the press, book flights, hotels and restaurants. Lots of lost revenue. Let’s not forget the taxi drivers, Uber drivers, D.J.’s, lighting technicians, show venues, models, and the list goes on and on. More lost revenue.

By going digital, the industry also misses out on the social aspect of attending shows. Fashion week is a great way for fashion editors, buyers, publicists, designers and influencers to network and celebrate fashion. However exhausting attending back to back shows for an entire month may be, watching a digital show at home, or in your office behind a computer screen, or hunched over on your phone, is just not the same. Although there were plenty creative films dedicated this Fall’s couture collections, for many, nothing beats a live show.

Paris Couture Fashion Week was kicked off with a video address by model/celeb Naomi Campbell, who dedicated the season to the “fight for equality and diversity.” Campbell quoted Nelson Mandela and the Black Lives Matter movement. “This is a call for action we are making,” she said, wearing sleeveless T-shirt bearing the words PHENOMENALLY BLACK. “It is up to us, it is up to you to start enforcing inclusion of the multitude of identities that compose our countries,” she said. “The time has come to build a more equitable industry with a good form of checks and balances. It is now more than ever compulsory to include them in a permanent way, and not a transient one,” she added.

The supermodel urged “regular and sustainable conversations with minorities from each country and culture in this mega industry.”

I am Naomi Campbell and I declare Paris couture fashion week ouvert. merci.”

SCHIAPARELLI

A Schiaparelli Couture sketch. (Photo Credit: Shiaparelli)

American designer, Daniel Roseberry, the creative director for Schiaparelli, has been quarantined in New York City since the NY coronavirus lockdown, and therefore did not have a collection to present for the Fall 2020 couture season. However, what he did do, was present a short film featuring himself sketching on a bench in NYC’s Washington Square Park. The film was dubbed an “Imaginary Collection.” Roseberry stated, “Life today is lived according to opposites; the pandemic has inverted everything we knew. Now, instead of a team to execute this collection, I just have my own imagination. Instead of the Place Vendôme in Paris, it’s been designed and sketched on a park bench.”  Who  out there doesn’t love seeing how a designer conceptualizes a collection?

Roseberry’s drawings featured nods to founder Elsa Schiaparelli that included a shocking pink column dress, a jacket with leg-of-mutton sleeves and a “chandelier” top. The house hopes to show a capsule collection of these designs in Los Angeles in December. “Everything has changed, but imagination, and the drive to create, has never been more relevant, or more profound. This collection is a tribute to that impulse to create,” said Roseberry in a WWD article. “Someday very soon, I will venture back to Paris and hand these styles off to the atelier. We will make a portion of these and take them around the world to share with our valued clients and stylists.”
Here’s his video.

BALMAIN

A look from Balmain’s Couture Extravaganza. (Photo Credit: Balmain)

Olivier Rousteing, the social media genius and creative director for Balmain, planned a two-hour extravaganza that was live-streamed on TikTok. This marked the first time TikTok has ever worked with a luxury brand. Rousteing used the hashtag #BalmainSurSeine making Paris’ Seine River his stage.

The Balmain crew traveled on a barge from the Eiffel Tower eastward and featured French pop singer Yseult and 50 dancers. A very social media-worthy idea! However, not without technical difficulties. The sound dropped and minutes after embarking the live feed cut out, never to return but by that time Balmain had already racked up about 15,000 new followers on his social media platforms. That’s a win!

“What happened on Sunday was beyond the digital Fashion Week,” Rousteing said to Vogue, estimating that approximately 20,000 locals caught at least some part of the spectacle.

After 75 years, Balmain is showing a new direction. We gave people access to our house, and we showed that we are really French. It was our gift to Paris, the City of Light,” said Rousteing. The show was re-streamed on the Federation de la Haute Couture’s online platform. According to Rousteing, “It’s really hard to just do digital without any physical experience; we are all missing it. We work for an audience and you lose the emotion if you don’t have one. We need to go back to that.”

IRIS VAN HERPEN

Everyone always looks to Iris van Herpen as the future of fashion, so it was no surprise that she created a fantasmagorial short film entitled “Transmotion.” The film was directed by Ryan McDaniels and starred Games Of Throne’s actress Carice van Houten, wandering through a modern courtyard surrounded by mesmerizing pulsating lights. Throughout the video were shots of black crystals that magically assembled on the floor and then morphed into the same lattice pattern that appeared on her dress. The film featured only one dress, but was a signature Iris Van Herpen creation that perfectly blends high-tech artistry with old-world techniques.

DIOR

A look from Dior’s Couture collection. (Photo Credit: Dior)

Maria Grazia Chiuri, artistic director of women’s haute couture, ready-to-wear and accessory collections at Dior, recruited Italian director Matteo Garrone to produce a short film showcasing the intricate looks of her Fall 2020 haute couture collection. The movie, entitled, “The Dior Myth,” was based on mythology and drew viewers into a magical woodland journey filled with fairytale creatures like sirens, nymphs, a faun and a woman emerging from a giant shell. It was dreamy and fantastical, which is what one expects from couture. However, Dior’s film caught plenty of criticism for its lack of diversity.

RALPH & RUSSO

A sketch from the Ralph & Russo’s 2020 couture collection. (Photo Credit: Ralph & Russo)

Sure travel feels like a distant memory right about now as some of us are still quarantining and can only take domestic flights, but in the digital world, anything’s possible. Tamara Ralph, the artistic director behind the Ralph & Russo label, created a whimsical collection worn by an avatar model. Ralph’s backdrop of choice? The Seven Wonders of the World, which added a playful twist to the intricate collection.

GIAMBATTISTA VALLI

A look from Giambattista Valli’s Couture collection. (Photo Credit: Giambattista Valli)

Many designers have been showing restrain this season as the crippling affects of the economy due to COVID-19 have many in panic mode, but this can’t be said about Giambattista Valli. The designer created his frothy, voluminous gowns that were unapologetically grand. He even featured a few face coverings, a nod to the pandemic, but they were purely decorative and not for protection.

Unlike other designers who collaborated with famous film directors and photographers to create their digital show, Valli  personally filmed extreme closeups of his creations with  his iPhone, yes, his iPhone!  He chose as his muse Puerto Rican supermodel and actress, Joan Smalls. “I’m taking by the hand all the viewers around the world who are still confined and can’t travel, and showing them Paris through my eyes,” he explained to Vogue.

 

CHANEL

A look from Chanel’s 2020 couture collection. (Photo Credit: Mikael Jansson for Chanel)

The eighties are back! At least in the world of Chanel’s creative director Virginie Viard, who presented a line-up that was so unapologetically maximalist. There were party dresses galore and plenty of bling. “It’s an eccentric girl with a touch of the Eighties. I wanted something joyful,” the designer said in an interview with WWD. Viard worked with photographer Mikael Jansson to create a show video: a one-minute, 22-second burst of images spliced with grainy black and white footage of models Rianne Van Rompaey and Adut Akech.

 

RAHUL MISHRA

A look from Rahul Mishra’s Fall 2020 haute couture. (Photo Credit: Rahul Mishra)

Every stitch, every knot is strongly related to the present and future of an artisan, especially hit by the pandemic,” said Rahul Mishra in an interview with WWD. The designer is more determined than ever to support the embroiderers of India who created his elaborate designs. “Butterfly People” was the title of the collection, as it is meant to evoke nature flourishing without human intervention.

 

VIKTOR & ROLF

A look from Viktor & Rolf’s 2020 haute couture collection. (Photo Credit: Casper Kofi for Viktor & Rolf)

‘Couture in the time of coronavirus’ was the reality behind Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren’s namesake couture collection. The duo cleverly created three mini wardrobes comprised of a negligee, dressing gown, and coat, meant to represent pandemic-related emotional states.

They started the video with the fear and anxiety, emotions that we are all feeling as a society, but then the show quickly evolved into visuals representing feelings of love and joy. In the video, singer Mika plays a retro newscaster offering deadpan commentary on Viktor & Rolf’s collection. His description of a spiky coat was part of the gloom-and-doom segment. “There’s a lot to feel angry about and this garment will communicate exactly that,” he intones.

The collection consisted of nine intricate creations that ranged from a storm cloud slip dress to the ‘halo of hearts’ confection pictured above. All with Viktor & Rolf’s famous tongue-in-cheek humor.

Our Favorite Couture Video

At UoF, we think the most creative of all fashion video productions is this one by Dior, showcasing their new dress collection on 37 half scale dress forms each handmade by their expert couturiers and petits mains. Once the preferred design method used by famed French designer Madeleine Vionnet, working half scale is a great way to try out your designs sustainably. Dior plans to take orders by sending these clothed mini dress forms to their clients around the world.

Be sure to check out UoF’s social media channels and website to view our upcoming half scale draping and pattern making series. So very inspiring!

 

What are YOUR thoughts about digital shows vs runway shows?

WILL FASHION SHOWS EVER LOOK THE SAME AGAIN?

- - Fashion Shows

Erdem’s resort collection draws on the juxtaposition of Regency dress and the 1960s. (Photo Credit: Erdem)

COVID-19 has changed the world, no doubt about it. This deadly pandemic took many innocent lives and toppled global economies in just months. It is unfathomable how every industry has been affected and how each is racing to adapt to a new way of doing business. The fashion industry is no exception. As our industry grapples with millions of dollars in losses, stockpiles of unsold merchandise, and store closures and bankruptcies that resulted in thousands of people being furloughed, the industry is also grappling with the future of the fashion show.

You may remember our blogpost back on November 18, 2019, we covered the topic of whether fashion shows are still relevant. Well, who knew back then that a deadly pandemic would help make the decision for us.

As we wait for scientists and doctors to advise us on when it will become safe enough to gather in large groups, the idea of presenting and attending live fashion shows seems far off. Though LVMH just announced that their brands will produce a live show this fall, most designers are getting creative with new ways to showcase their collections. Here is a rundown of what the new fashion calendar will look like.

RESORT/CRUISE 2021

On March 27th, the CFDA announced the cancellation of the official New York Fashion Week Resort 2021 schedule of presentations, which had been planned for the week of June 6. According to a statement by the CFDA, “The decision was based on the current global situation, the ongoing uncertainty regarding its impact on retailers and their open-to-buys, and designers’ challenges in producing collections at this moment,” the statement read. “We strongly recommend and urge designers not to show their resort spring 2021 collections. The news followed similar announcements by the Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana in Milan and the Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode in Paris to postpone or cancel their respective spring 2021 men’s collections, as well as the fall 2020 haute couture shows.”

The resort 2021 season would have been in full swing by now with many of the bigger brands holding mega-shows in exotic locations, while the majority would hold intimate shows or appointments in New York City. As a result of Covid, many designers chose to skip the season altogether citing worldwide factory lockdowns, huge sales losses on spring merchandise and the inability to receive the fabrics and trimmings needed to create a collection. However, a few designers did opt to present their collections, through videos and lookbook images. Here are a few ways designers became creative with presenting their latest collections.

CHANEL

A look from Chanel’s Resort 2021 Collection. (Photo Credit: Chanel).

Click link to Chanel’s video presentation:

The Chanel cruise 2021 collection was originally intended to be shown onto Isle of Capri, the mythically beautiful Italian island a ferry ride from Naples, a place that Chanel’s creative director Virginie Viard still has yet to visit. But while on lockdown, Viard traveled there ‘in her mind’ and created a collection labeled Balade en Méditerranée (A Mediterranean Jaunt). Viard, along with photographer Karim Sadli, created the illusion of a Caprese sunset in Chanel’s Paris photo studio.

As for the clothes, Viard created a destination wardrobe of effortless pieces, which were sophisticated yet oh so cool. The designer focused on swimsuits that were worn – every which way – as under-pieces to cardigan jackets to tops paired with wide-legged trousers. Viard also updated the classic Chanel suit, opting for vibrant little jackets and miniskirts – all in cotton tweed. The collection was injected with a youthful appeal with a maxi cardigan paired with micro shorts, a collarless jacket paired with denim pants with tweed insets, and a bandeau top paired with a handkerchief skirt. Overall the collection was the ultimate vacation wardrobe.

BALMAIN

A look from Balmain’s Resort 2021 Collection. (Photo Credit: Balmain)

The Eighties made a major comeback at Balmain, as creative director Olivier Rousteing created a fun and cheeky collection for both his woman’s resort collection and his menswear spring 2021 line up. The designer invited a handful of his “Balmain army” friends to style themselves in his latest looks. Clearly Rousteing has spent his quarantine time watching 80s films and television shows; the collections were filled with Miami Vice inspired jackets, polka dot dresses inspired by Pretty Woman, graphic t-shirt mash-ups with a nod to The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, while heavily encrusted bustiers and exaggerated shoulder pads were straight out of Dynasty’s wardrobe. With all the turmoil in the world today, Rousteing’s collections were a throwback to happier times.

TANYA TAYLOR

A look from Tanya Taylor’s Resort 2021 Collection. (Photo Credit: Tanya Taylor)

Being on lockdown brought out many innovative ideas and designer Tanya Taylor came up with a very creative way to showcase her resort line-up. Taylor sent her latest collection to a handful of artists, stylists, and friends, with instructions that each one was to style themselves in one of here looks and then photograph themselves. The results were a lookbook come to life. In an interview with Vogue, Taylor stated, “I’ve never loved styling our customer. I prefer seeing what they do with our clothes and how they add their own personal twist. That’s where the lookbook came to life. It felt like these women were telling us how they want to feel in their clothes.

As for the clothes, they were infused with Taylor’s signature feminine charm. There was a vibrant fuchsia jumpsuit, ruffled trim wrap skirts, playful print dresses, flirty dot motifs and for evening, a pleated lame one-shoulder dress..

GANNI

A look from Ganni’s Resort 2021 Collection. (Photo Credit: Ganni)

The husband and wife team behind Danish brand Ganni, Ditte and Nicolaj Reffstrup, literally designed their resort collection in their home kitchen, so it felt only natural for the duo to shoot their lookbook in the kitchen. The collection focused on the foundation pieces that have made Ganni such a coveted brand among the “It-Girl” set. There were pilgrim collars, bubble sleeve mini dresses, striped tops and party dresses to dance the night away once a coronavirus vaccine is found.

RAG & BONE

A look from Rag & Bone’s men’s resort collection. (Photo Credit: Rag & Bone)

A look from Rag & Bone’s woman’s resort collection. (Photo Credit: Rag & Bone)

Marcus Wainwright of Rag & Bone, focused on pieces that make their customers feel good. The collection was filled with classics with a modern twist. These are pieces that you can live in and wear all winter long.

DAVID KOMA

A look from David Koma’s Resort 2021 Collection. (Photo Credit: David Koma)

David Koma is known for his glamourous collections and for resort he did not shy away from his campy aesthetic. The collection was filled with sexy crystal embellished dresses, body-con neon dresses, patent leather biker shorts and plenty of corsets. Koma’s girls are ready to step out into the world of cocktails and celebration.

LONDON MEN’S SHOWS

Natasha Zinko x Duo Spring 2021 Menswear Collection in London. (Photo Credit: Natasha Zinko x Duo)

Right around  now, Europe would have held their menswear fashion shows in London, Milan, and Paris. In lieu of traditional shows, Industry leaders came up with creative solutions. The British Fashion Council hosted a three-day coed digital week, which took place from June 12-14. This event brought together British brands that shared creative content that varied from podcasts to photo diaries. “By creating a cultural fashion week platform, we are adapting digital innovation to best fit our needs today and something to build on as a global showcase for the future,” Caroline Rush, the chief executive of the British Fashion Council, said in a press release.

E. Tautz’s spring 2021 menswear collection in London. (Photo Credit: E. Tautz)

However, many British coed brands like Burberry are holding off on showcasing their spring collections until September. It will be a runway show, outdoors with no audience, following social distancing guidelines. The only people in attendance will be the models and members of the Burberry team.

PARIS’ NEW SCHEDULE

Hermès will be livestreaming a digital experience tied to its spring 2021 collection, slated to go live on July 5th at 8 a.m. ET.

The Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode (FHCM) will host the first-ever virtual couture fashion week. The three day event will take place from July 6-8th and accredited couture maisons will present videos and complementary content that will go live on a preset show schedule, replicating the format of a physical couture fashion week. Although Giorgio Armani will skip out of showing his couture collection this season, the Italian designer will host a seasonless Privé show at the Palazzo Orsini in January. Joining Armani, Chitose Abe of Sacai will debut her couture collection for Jean Paul Gaultier as his first guest designer in the New Year. Meanwhile, Balenciaga has not yet officially confirmed a new date, but the French house has likely postponed Demna Gvasalia’s couture debut until 2021.

The FHCM has also announced that the men’s spring 2021 collections would evolve into a video-only format this season and will be held from July 9-13th. The digital week schedule will run like a live fashion week with organized time slots, allowing for back-to-back streams on one central platform. “Digital is clearly part of the shape of fashion to come and we will take it as an opportunity for innovation to complement tradition,” Ralph Toledano, the president of the FHCM, told Vogue. “This being said, [in the] last weeks behind our screens, we all felt that a dimension was missing: the sensorial one. This has tremendously reinforced our position that nothing will ever replace the unity of time and place. Shows are a major component of the fashion industry, and this will remain…. Physical events will always have our preference, but as long as there is uncertainty, there should be flexibility.”

A portrait of Anthony Vaccarello, the creative director of Saint Laurent. )Photo Credit: W Magazine)

Anthony Vaccarello, the creative director for Saint Laurent, announced the brand’s departure from this year’s preset schedules and beyond. “Conscious of the current circumstance and its waves of radical change, Saint Laurent has decided to take control of its pace and reshape its schedule,” Vaccarello, wrote in an Instagram post published in April. “Now more than ever, the brand will lead its own rhythm.”

Meanwhile, German-based streetwear blog, media brand and production agency Highsnobiety hosted a digital fashion event known as “Not in Paris,” which brought together luxury, streetwear, art, music, architecture and even fine wine, under one digital roof. The online exhibition project —which debuted on June 24 and will run through July 2nd — is a direct response to the Highsnobiety audience’s continued zest for fashion storytelling.

“Not In Paris” presented by Highsnobiety. (Photo Credit: Highsnobiety)

So many of the events we write about have been canceled, so we’ve had to think of ourselves as cultural producers in our own right,” said Thom Bettridge, the publication’s editor in chief, in an interview with WWD. “We basically thought, let’s set our own calendar and become this project-based media brand. If there isn’t anything going on in the world, let’s just make it happen.’”

According to an article published in WWD, Highsnobiety is bringing together everyone from Berlin-based company GmbH, which is shooting a film in Berlin exclusively for the online event, to up-and-coming stars like Wales Bonner and Marine Serre, as well as luxury megabrands including Bottega Veneta, Dior, Fendi and Hermès. The latter let the Highsnobiety team loose into its archives to narrate the history of its famous silk scarf.

MILAN’S NEW SCHEDULE

Italy’s Camera della Moda team also announced a cyber-focused men’s and women’s fashion show format which will take place from July 14–17th. The four day event will be known as Milano Fashion Week Digital and consist of panel discussions on social media to virtual showroom appointments, giving designers a chance to showcase their latest collections in a new and innovative way. “Everybody can decide their own message. The advantage is that in a digital world, you are completely free. You find your way of expression. We said to everybody, you have from one minute to 15 minutes, and you decide what you want to show,’” Carlo Capasa, the president of the Camera della Moda, told Vogue.

Ermenegildo Zegna will stage an innovative-slash-intimate hybrid event that will feature the brand’s spring 2021 collection and will also celebrate the label’s 110th anniversary.

A portrait of Alessandro Michele, the creative director for Gucci. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

Gucci is confirmed to premiere its men’s and women’s resort 2021 collection in the form of a digital fashion show on the final day of Milano Digital fashion Week.  This will be Gucci’s last pre-collection; on May 25th, Creative Director Alessandro Michele announced that the house will only hold two coed shows a year (one in the spring and one in the fall) instead of the five seasonal runway spectacles a year.  “I’m passionate about fashion shows, but maybe we can be open to seeing them in a different way,” Michele said.

SEPTEMBER SHOWS

September’s Spring 2021 NY Fashion Week also has plenty of shakeups. Kerby Jean-Raymond of Pyer Moss is staging a full-fledged drive-in fashion experience tour to showcase his new film American, Also. Jean-Raymond is slowing down the speed of how much he produces and is focusing on improving the quality of what he produces. This may be a popular mindset for many designers moving forward – quality over quantity.

A portrait of Kerby Jean-Raymond of Pyer Moss. (Photo Credit: Hyperbeast)

Jean-Raymond is not the only New York–based designer planning something big in September. While many designers had to cancel their resort seasons due to factory closures and shelter-in-place orders, some labels, such as Proenza Schouler and Collina Strada, have refocused their efforts on New York Fashion Week, a strategy that is gaining momentum in Milan and Paris too.

A portrait of Virgil Abloh, the creative director for Off-White. (Photo Credit: High Museum of Art)

While the majority of designers are set on staging something in September, there are a few who are altering the fashion calendar to fit their needs. Virgil Abloh is holding out until 2021 to present his own women’s and men’s spring collections for his label Off-White. Abloh’s decision to wait until January means Off-White is officially experimenting with the see-now-buy-now calendar.

A portrait of Alexander Wang. (Photo Credit: W Magazine)

For the past few years Alexander Wang has been presenting two seasonless collections a year, one in June and one in December, that were in sync with the fashion calendar’s pre-collections.  However, Wang opted out of showing last December and instead planned a bigger event for 2020 to celebrate his labels 15 year anniversary.

Michael Kors on the runway. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

Michael Kors announced he would be stepping back from New York Fashion Week for the Spring 2021 season due to unsold inventory and Fall 2020 production delays due to Covid-19. Instead, the designer will present his Michael Kors Collection line sometime between mid-October and mid-November. “I have for a long time thought that the fashion calendar needs to change. It’s exciting for me to see the open dialogue within the fashion community about the calendar — from Giorgio Armani to Dries Van Noten to Gucci to YSL to major retailers around the globe — about ways in which we can slow down the process and improve the way we work,” he said in a statement. “We’ve all had time to reflect and analyze things, and I think many agree that it’s time for a new approach for a new era.”

PARIS WILL GO LIVE IN SEPTEMBER

The Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode announced on June 24th that the spring 2021 ready-to-wear shows will resume in Paris from September 28 through October 6. Although few details were shared, the FHCM announced that they “will comply [with] the recommendations of public authorities.” Designers will have to limit their guest lists and venue choices, perhaps shows will occur in outdoor spaces, only time will tell how the future of runway shows will takes shape.

So the question remains, will the glamour of fashion shows ever return to its glorious heyday?

Fashion Week, Face Masks, the Timeline & How the Fashion Industry Coped with COVID-19!

- - Fashion Shows

The New Fashion Accessory: The Face Mask

Some medical experts debunk the use of face masks to contain COVID-19 (unless they’re N95s). Others say that masks are effective at capturing droplets, which is the main transmission route of coronavirus. According to The Guardian, “some studies have estimated a roughly five-fold protection versus no barrier. If you are likely to be in close contact with someone infected, a mask cuts the chance of the disease being passed on. If you’re just walking around town and not in close contact with others, wearing a mask is unlikely to make any difference.”

And so, fashion brands wasted no time creating and embellishing their own versions, and adding them to their collections. Can’t you just hear the cash registers ringing?

A model wearing a Pitta Mask walks the runway for The Blonds during New York Fashion Week: The Shows at Gallery I at Spring Studios on February 09, 2020 in New York City. (Photo by Roy Rochlin/Getty Images for NYFW: The Shows)

Model wearing a studded face mask at The Blondes NYFW 2020 show (Photo credit: Roy Rochlin/Getty Images for NYFW: The Shows)

 

London Fashion Week face mask video by The Telegraph

Guests wear protective masks as a model walks the runway at Dries Van Noten in Paris. (Photo credit:  ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT/AFP via Getty Images)

What started out last season as “anti-pollution” masks at French designer Merine Serra’s spring show, has quickly morphed into “virus protection” accessories for fall 2020.

Models wearing facemasks at Marine Serre's Paris Fashion Week show

                                                                                                                                           Marine Serre Paris Fashion Week Show (Photo credit: Getty Images)

The Timeline

The timing couldn’t have been worse, but I guess you can say, New York Fashion Week dodged a bullet. A few days before NYFW (Feb 6-13) the CFDA issued a coronavirus statement on their website with info given to them by the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH). The message:

” the risk to New Yorkers is low, there are ZERO cases in NYC and only 6 cases as of 1/30/20 had been confirmed in the U.S. but none in NY State.”

London Fashion Week (Feb 14-18) wasn’t so lucky. A majority of Chinese press and buyers were unable to travel, a forewarning of the serious financial impact that the virus will have on business, since China is responsible for a third of all global luxury sales and where many of the textiles used in collections are made. Thousands of people, including about 2,500 ticket-buying members of the public were scheduled to attend more than 60 presentations. To assuage fears, each night London’s fashion show venue was given a  “deep clean” and antibacterial hand sanitizers were distributed to those who did attend. Some attendees even brought their own face masks! Adding to the problem, several Chinese designers were unable to travel due to a travel bans, and therefore had to cancel their New York, London, Milan and Paris shows.

Giorgio Armani poses in front of models at his Fall 2020 show. (Photo credit: Instagram@GiorgioArmani)

By Tuesday Feb 18th, the scheduled start of Milan Fashion Week, the fashion industry was jittery. The coronavirus outbreak first hit the city that weekend as Milan Fashion Week neared its end. As a precaution, on Feb. 22nd Giorgio Armani announced that he would no longer host a runway show to an audience, instead, he would live stream his show behind closed doors in an empty theater. Armani posted the announcement on Twitter, adding that it was a preventative measure in support of national efforts to safeguard public health. The company also closed its offices and plants in Northern Italy for the next week. During the end of Milan Fashion Week (Feb 24th), a number of shows and events were cancelled and then on Feb 26th, the first case of coronavirus, linked to Milan Fashion Week, was confirmed in Greece.

At the start of Paris Fashion Week on Monday Feb 24th, anxiety was at a fever pitch, although no shows were cancelled (gotta love the French – the show must go on!). Models both on and off the runway were donning designer face masks validating the newest fashion accessory…the Designer face mask  I mean, who but the French would pass up a “new fashion accessory opportunity”?

Japanese fashion model Kozue Akimoto, seen wearing a face mask and red coat outside Marine Serre during Paris Fashion Week. (Photo credit: Christian Vierig/Getty Images)

More Coronavirus Fashion Week News

LONDON

Burberry’s creative director, Ricardo Tisci, presented his Burberry fall 2020 show in London with great success but announced that because of COVID-19, they would postpone their fall 2020 Shanghai show slated for April 23rd  and a new date has yet to be revealed. 

During an interview with Vogue, Tisci talked about how he’d lived in India and learned meditation after studying in multicultural London at Central Saint Martins before he started his own label in Italy. For fall 2020, Tisci featured sophisticated tailoring with an innovative twist, such as looped collars on trenches and double-layered coats. There were plenty of references to India, with pleated madras checks on everything from layered dresses to men’s suits. For evening, a category that Tisci introduced for the label, he showed a silver chainmail dress with crystal fringe detail that was a real showstopper. Perfect for Tisci’s fashion-forward clients.

Riccardo Tisci and his models at the Burberry Fall 2020 show. (Photo credit: Instagram @burberry)

 

MILAN

Prada has also postponed their upcoming resort 2021 show, which was to be held in Japan on May 21.  The company released the following statement: “The decision was made as a precautionary measure as well as an act of responsibility and respect for all the people working on and planning to attend our resort 2021 show.” Prada will reveal a new location and date in the near future.

Fortunately for Prada, the coronavirus did not affect their Milan show.  Miuccia Prada, always the feminist, when asked about her collection,  “We can be strong and feminine at the same time…women carry the weight now. You can be delicate and frivolous and still hold power and be in command.” So it was no surprise that on the runway, she mixed “clichés of femininity,” as she described them to Vogue, accompanied pieces traditionally considered masculine. The designer combined boxy belted jackets with fringe skirts and crisp bib-front shirts were glammed up with strips of crystal fringe. There were also plenty of flirty embroidered car-wash skirts, delicate sheer layers dresses with lotus-flower prints, and terrific outerwear, most notably the belted leather puffer jackets.

Prada’s Fall 2020 women collection. (Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Alessandro Garofalo)

In other exciting Prada news, it was just announced that Belgian-born Raf Simons will be working alongside Miuccia Prada as co-creative director for the brand. The collaboration between Simons and Miuccia – who has been at helm of Prada since 1978 – is said to come from “a deep reciprocal respect” between the two designers. “It opens a new dialogue, between designers widely acknowledged as two of the most important and influential of today,” said the brand in a statement.

The fashion world eagerly looks forward to the possibilities of what these two creative geniuses will construct.

Prada announces co-creative directors Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons. (Photo credit: Vogue)

 

PARIS

Chanel’s artistic director Virginie Viard will show her fall 2020 Chanel collection on Tuesday, March 3rd, but the house revealed that they are postponing the re-staging of its Métiers d’Art show in Beijing, which was slated to take place in May. The collection was originally shown in Paris on Dec. 4th.

Chanel released a statement: “Considering the current situation and following the guidance of Chinese authorities, Chanel has decided to postpone its project of a replica of the Paris – 31 Rue Cambon 2019/20 Métiers d’Art collection in May in Beijing to a later date and more appropriate moment.”

Dedicated to CHANEL’s Fashion Métiers d’art, this collection highlights the creative dialogue between Virginie Viard and the Maisons d’art, enhancing the creations of the House. (Photo credit: Chanel)

 

At Christian Dior, Maria Grazia Chiuri’s show notes stated, “All our thoughts are with our teams, clients, friends and partners in Asia, Italy and around the world.” Known for her feminist movements, Chiuri did not disappoint with her fall 2020 Christian Dior collection. This season the creative director worked with the neo-conceptual artist collective Claire Fontaine in designing the runway where neon lights flashed messages such as, “When women strike the world stops.” “Patriarchy = climate emergency.” “Consent. Consent. Consent.”

Thankfully, Chiuri’s collections for Dior always live up to the dramatic spectacle she creates.  She opened the show with the houses’ famous Bar jacket, but this time in a chic pantsuit version. The show had a relaxed and youthful elegance with homage to Marc Bohen’s tenure at the house in the ‘70s.  Chiuri showed logo puffers, denim jackets and jeans, jumpsuits and plaid looks that ranged from belted coats to miniskirts. For evening there were silk fringe looks that were cohesive with the youthful collection. Hint, hint…fringe is back!

Looks from Dior’s fall 2020 collection. (Photo credit: Getty Images)

Dries Van Noten took virus precautions very seriously as he had ushers hand out face masks at the entrance to his show at the Opéra Bastille on Feb 26th. There were also large pump bottles of hand sanitizers stationed just beyond the metal detectors, which, by the way, now greet guests at every show. While the outside world all around us may be a frightening place, due to the epidemic of the coronavirus, political turmoil, and a rise in hate crimes, Dries Van Noten’s runway was a happy place, filled with glamorous looks inspired by the ‘70s and ‘80s. In an interview with Vogue, Van Noten stated, “It’s about going out, enjoying life—having fun, that’s very important! I thought of this party girl. Something mysterious. Something dark. But I questioned how far it could go, while staying contemporary.”

So, how did Van Noten translate his idea on the runway? Think casual glamour. Case in point, a plaid coat thrown over a chunky cardigan and feathered skirt. The designer also showed plenty of jungle prints in acid green and fuchsia, as well as a nod to grunge with plaids and shirts tied at the waist. There was definitely a Christian Lacroix influence, since the two collaborated with each other last season (they started the whole creative director collab trend). Van Noten showed a velvet blazer in emerald green, Art Deco-inspired iris print dresses, a purple paillette jacket and a heavily beaded sarong, paired with a semi sheer blouse.

 

Dries Van Noten’s Fall 2020 Show. (Photo credit: Reuters)

At Maison Margiela, John Galliano had several models walk the runway in face wraps. However, this wasn’t post-apocalyptic in any way, rather a delight of rejuvenation.  During his post show podcast, Galliano exclaimed “Restorative! The idea of giving something a new life…Kick-starting a new consciousness.”

Galliano opened the show with a series of outerwear elements, or “memory of” coats attached to a sheer base worn over sheer layered dresses that were whimsical and delightful – all in rich hues. Later he showed full coats in generous proportions. At times they were spliced together, as if they were once two separate garments cut in half and sewn together. These deconstructed looks, or what he calls a “work-in-progress” technique is what makes Galliano the perfect designer for the Maison Margiela label.

Maison Margiela Fall 2020 Show. (Photo credit: The New York Times)

At UoF, we’ve been asking about the relevance of fashion shows from the standpoint of cost/benefit, as well as their carbon footprint. Is it time for us to embrace 3D technology and create virtual fashion shows? Care to share your thoughts?

 

 

IT’S SHOWTIME – NYFW FALL 2020

- - Fashion Shows

Michael Kors Collection Fall 2020 Show (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

In November 2019, The University of Fashion posed the question; “Are Fashion Shows Still Relevant?” that blog post covered the history of fashion shows and why designers still prefer a show. While many argued that fashion shows were an outrageous expense, designers mostly felt that it was worth it if they attracted Instagram Stars and Fashion Bloggers. Today, fashion shows are more about exposure and how many “likes” the’ll get on social media than selling clothes.

This season there were many changes to New York Fashion Week’s calendar. Tom Ford skipped NY and decided to show in LA, Tommy Hilfiger is showing in London, Telfar is showing in Florence and Ralph Lauren is skipping the runway altogether.  So, with so much change, it’s not surprising that famed fashion blogger Bryanboy asked if somebody could look into “why NYFW [has] pretty much died?”

While this may seem like an exaggerated question, it’s a valid one, as designers continue to search for unique places and ways to create buzz. They’ve tried live-streaming shows, opening up their shows to the public, showing their menswear and womenswear collections together, and they even tried to entice sales by showing buy-now-wear-now collections (which ultimately failed). But as we all know, today, consumers shop differently, especially due to the internet. And, unlike their predecessors, Gen Zers are more concerned about their carbon footprint and issues surrounding  over-consumption than they are about the runway.

So, why should designer’s invest thousands of dollars on a runway show? Well according to Jeffry Aronsson, the former CEO of Oscar de la Renta, Marc Jacobs and Donna Karan, who currently consults luxury brands on growth strategies, told Fashionista, that at its core, “the business case for investing in a seasonal fashion show, or any other fashion event, is that it should get the brand the attention of the market and press.” Aronsson states that the measures of success come in the form of online impressions (including social commentary and likes), editorial coverage (both digital and print) and, though difficult to quantify, word of mouth, which helps raise brand awareness, desire and, hopefully, sales.

Erin Hawker, communications expert and founder of Agentry PR, notes that a brand can get 50 to 100 press hits in one single day globally after a runway show (and even double that if there are big-name celebrities involved), as well as millions of earned impressions on social media. “If you assign an editorial value to shows with or without celebrities, it’s usually in the tens of millions of dollars’ worth of impressions,” Hawker says. “This far surpasses the cost of a show.”

So, designers have been listening carefully to the experts. And for those who chose to a have runway show, those brands pulled out all the stops to make it a memorable; a spectacle that their consumers would enjoy, as they watch the videos and images that blow-up their social media feeds. Oh, and in the end…hopefully generate sales.

Here are some images of the more memorable NYFW shows of the Fall 2020 season:

TOM FORD

Tom Ford’s Fall 2020 Los Angeles Show (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

In June 2019, Tom Ford took the helm at the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA). Many fashion insiders were upset (Ford is based in Los Angeles), with one calling it a “slap in the face” to New York Fashion Week. In a statement to the Business of Fashion site, Mr. Ford said: “Someone asked me the other day how I could justify showing in L.A. as I am now the Chairman of the CFDA, and I reminded them that CFDA stood for the Council of Fashion Designers of America and not the Council of Fashion Designers of New York.”

Mr. Ford opted to show in Los Angeles because of the Academy Awards, which took place on Sunday night (Feb. 9, 2020) at the start of NYFW. In a statement to Women’s Wear Daily, Mr. Ford said “the excitement in L.A. on that particular weekend” was a big factor in his decision.

As for the show, it was a star-studded extravaganza and one of the biggest pre-Oscar events. Everyone was there from Jennifer Lopez and Renée Zellweger to Miley Cyrus and Lil Nas X to James Corden and Jon Hamm. There were so many power players, that some celebs were even pushed back to the second row.

As for the clothes, they were infused with Mr. Ford’s signature glam, mixed in with streetwear elements. Case in point; a chic oversized leopard print coat, worn over a sweatsuit. The collection also featured plenty of menswear inspired high-waisted, baggy trousers paired with logo sweatshirts and topped off with terrific outerwear. For evening, Mr. Ford turned up the glitz with bold colored turtleneck sweaters paired with sequin maxi skirts, delicate lace dresses and a show-stopping crystalized halter gown.

This extravaganza was anything but the traditional runway show.

RODARTE

Rodarte Fall 2020 Show (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Laura and Kate Mulleavy have always been inspired by theatrics and Hollywood for their beloved label Rodarte. For Fall 2020, the sisters looked to vampires for inspiration, more notably, Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel Dracula, which in turn inspired—Francis Ford Coppola’s indelible 1992 adaptation of the book, starring Winona Ryder. The sisters found the perfect setting as the backdrop to the gothic tail; a dimly lit St. Bartholomew’s church in Midtown Manhattan.

While the Mulleavy sisters created a cinematic goth setting, the clothes were anything but. The collection featured a nod to the forties with playful polka-dot dresses, dramatic pouf sleeve blouses and bold floral gowns. Then, things became dramatically dark and sinister with cobweb embellishments on a few gowns, as well as black fringe capes that resembled clumps of witches’ hair. Laura and Kate Mulleavy returned to their gothic roots in a fashionably haunting way.

TORY BURCH

Tory Burch’s Fall 2020 Show (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Forever the art aficionado, Tory Burch chose the iconic Sotheby’s as her latest show venue as models strutted among the auction merch. It was the ideal location for her Fall 2020 collection as it was a happy jolt of vivid floral prints in everything from tailored suits to cozy sweaters and everything in between. Burch was inspired by the Francesca DiMattio’s ceramic sculptures (which were situated on the runway) and had the artist design many of the floral prints found in the show. Bravo Tory Burch for creating such a joyful collection in these unsettling times.

BRANDON MAXWELL

Brandon Maxwell’s Fall 2020 Show (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

One can always expect to have fun at Brandon Maxwell’s show. In the past he even served Shake Shack to editors before his show.  For Fall 2020, the celebrity stylist-turned-designer did not disappoint. He showed his youthful eveningwear at the American Museum of Natural History with their iconic dioramas  of ‘taxidermied’ moose and grizzlies. It was like a genuine slice of Americana. Maxwell also offered plenty of daywear this season with beautifully tailored outerwear, chic knits and low-cut trousers. For night, there were a few sheer numbers that felt out of place, but overall, this was a strong show, one that proves Maxwell is more than just a red-carpet designer.

COACH

Debbie Harry Performs at the Coach Fall 2020 Show (photo courtesy of Getty Images)

Coach’s Creative Director, Stuart Vevers, likes to draw inspiration from artists and has often incorporated their work into his collections. In the past, he’s featured works by Keith Haring (Spring 2018), Kaffe Fassett (Fall 2019) and Richard Bernstein (Spring 2020). For Fall 2020, he referenced Jean-Michel Basquiat — not just by weaving his drawings into his ready-to-wear and accessories  but also by bringing some of his family members to the show. The late artist’s niece, Jessica Kelly, actually walked the runway! She, and the rest of the models, made their way across a warehouse-turned-runway — meant to replicate the feel of a city loft — all while the legendary Debbie Harry performed on stage.

CHRISTOPHER JOHN ROGERS

Christopher John Rogers Fall 2020 Show (Photo courtesy of Dia Dipasupil for Getty Images)

Recent CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Award winner, Christopher John Rogers, brought back old-school glamour but with a modern twist for his Fall 2020 collection. His gowns were bold and vivid, perfect for young scarlets wanting to stand-out on the red carpet.

Rogers infused saturated hues into his collection and is fast becoming known for his shapely silhouettes. Think balloon sleeves, voluminous skirts and innovating draping – all in oversized, exaggerated shapes.

MARC JACOBS

Marc Jacobs’ Fall 2020 Show (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Everyone looks forward to the end of NYFW because of the Marc Jacobs show. For Fall 2020, the designer didn’t disappoint.  The show began with a surge of energy. Dancer/choreographer Karole Armitage, found the spotlight in the darkness of the Park Avenue Armory and reminded us that, why in the 80s, she earned the nickname the “punk ballerina.” Although her performance was brief, it was electrifying. Following Armitage, a crew of dancers followed, creating an entertaining and engaging backdrop; the dancers were clad in Marc Jacobs dance pieces, such as bras, slip dresses, skirts, basic T-shirts and black pants.

As for the clothes, it was a nod to the Sixties – Jackie Kennedy, Rosemary Woodhouse, the mods – all with a touch of nineties minimal. It was pure Marc in the early days of his career. He showed three-button A-line coats, pastel minidresses with matching jackets, tailored suits and simple sweaters worn over straight leg trousers; Miley Cyrus made an appearance on the runway wearing a black bra and trouser. For evening, Jacobs created a number of sequin sheath dresses in a variety of colors and a pink opera coat worn over a gown with a tiny bow at the bust that had Jackie Kennedy written all over it.

It wouldn’t be NYFW without a bit of controversy, right (in addition to Tom Ford showing in LA, Tommy Hilfiger in London and Jeremy Scott in Paris)? Well, thanks to a New York Times article, we learned that NYFW shows leave the biggest carbon footprint when it comes to travel, buyers, and brands.

So tell us: Time to rethink the runway show?