July 13th marked the beginning of Fall fashion week, setting off shows across Europe. However, this year coronavirus conditions have forced many designers to reimagine the ways they present and produce runway works of art. One of a limited few to proceed with a physical show, Jacquemus hosted a socially distanced fashion show in the Parisian northwest in the middle of a blisteringly gorgeous barley field. The sun set upon the guests as they indulged in libations after the show’s conclusion.
Prada produced a series of short films titled collectively as “The Show That Never Happened” which they released July 14th. Each of the five short films was directed by a different creative in order to create a collaborative work of art between the fashion and the editorial style. These films showcased a range of austere clothing in dystopian-esque settings, reflective of our unprecedented times.
With a reputation of pushing boundaries and challenging artistry in fashion, Viktor and Rolf’s fashion week collection from quarantine takes a humorous and avant-garde approach to the adaptation of the fashion industry. Their playful mini film features three wardrobe collections; each made up of a negligee, dressing gown and overcoat. Each set of three focuses on a different rising emotion from lockdown. The surrealism in the prints and construction feels unexpectedly relevant to these strange times.
In following along with Camille Charriere’s instagram story, I was stunned to see Dior’s reimagining of fashion week with their collection of tiny, doll sized garments made to be shipped to various buyers worldwide. In learning more about this collection from Vogue Paris’ YouTube video, “Léna Situations visits the Dior couture workshop,” I was delighted to learn this seemingly new innovation is a return to couture’s roots. The Théâtre de la Mode traveled Europe after World War II displaying tiny fashion articles from the Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne. The traveling runway was an attempt to revive the industry after German occupation and wartime depression. In the wake of this pandemic, our modern times seem to call for a parallel recollection of joy. A Dior milliner, Stephen Jones remarked “It just seemed the most wonderful thing for now because everything is such bad news. To have something which is charming and wonderful and beautiful is the tonic that the world needs. In times of trouble, we do need things to cheer us up.” I believe this fantastical tiny collection does just that.
Most haute couture collections were scaled down this fashion week, designers clearly being mindful of this time and are making appropriate restrictions of excess. Cognizant of this culture shift, a common thread in many collections is their accessibility and ease. Bouchra Jarrar constructed her collection with materials had on hand pre-lockdown; John Galliano’s collection is co-ed. Many designers have also used this time of reflection to showcase the adoring labor that goes into creating such luxurious fashion. Multiple short films seek to display not only the finished collection, but the dedicated hands employed in bringing such ephemeral visions to life. Alessandro Michele of Gucci laid bare the aesthetics and design processes that go into the production of a collection; presenting a timelapse of a campaign shoot, using 35 members of the atelier as models, revealing references and final look book photos alongside the film. This hybridity allowed viewers a glimpse into the abstract ideas that are born long before an article of clothing is worn on a runway. This appreciative perspective reminds audiences of haute couture’s commitment to artistry and precision.
Cover Image from Gucci, sourced from:
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