The offerings during fashion weeks have always been inspired by — and more often than not, reflect — current affairs, and this season was especially a poignant one. France’s daily Covid-19 cases continued to rise to an all time high of over 15,000 per day as the city was preparing for the first Paris Fashion Week post-lockdown. Within social distancing as the new normal, brands experimented with new ways of presenting their collections. For some, guest capacities were limited so that physical shows could go on. Elsewhere, extravagant films were produced for digital consumption only; then there were the ‘phygital’ shows which were put to the test. Some brands decided to pull out of the official fashion calendar in favour of a different pace. In the context of all this uncertainty, many of us have been questioning whether Paris Fashion Week should continue. Here are 10 moments that reminded us that it’s still as relevant as ever.
Throughout the week, we saw many approaches adopted by different brands to achieve the true ‘phygital’ runway show, but the most successful one has to be Louis Vuitton. While physical guests viewed a runway presentation that was set against a graphic green backdrop that covered all the walls and floors of the Samaritaine department store, viewers behind their computer screens were given a 360-degree digital experience via ‘virtual seats’. Instead of green screens, the digital show projected scenes from the 1987 Wim Wenders movie Wings of Desire.
Related article: Review of Louis Vuitton Spring Summer 2021 Collection
This season, creative director Maria Grazia Chiuri delved further into interpreting the codes of Dior to create real clothes for the modern woman. Inspired by the increased demand for comfort because of how Covid-19 has made WFH a new normal, the Dior silhouette was transformed into easy pieces in cosy fabrics. The Bar jacket gave way to roomy shapes inspired by pieces designed by Dior for Japan in the 1950’s. Elegant loungewear at its best.
Related article: Review Of Dior Spring Summer 2021 Collection
Chloe Spring Summer 2021 was a tantalising glimpse into a life that was supposedly back to normal. Models were filmed loitering on the streets of Paris, and projected live onto huge screens in the show space, before finally appearing on the runway. Chloe’s brand of rive gauche effortless chic was expressed in masterful juxtaposition of feminine and masculine designs in the most Parisian way.
Related article: Review of Chloe Spring Summer 2021 Collection
For Loewe SS21, Jonathan Anderson took the limitations of Covid-19 as a challenge that sparked innovation. There was no runway show, but he wanted to get the audience involved in a new way. Instead of a simple invitation, guests received an artist’s portfolio that contained life-sized posters of the collection as well as rolls of wallpaper, scissors and paint brushes, among other things. They were encouraged to become creators themselves, and make their own ‘Show-on-the-Wall’.
Related article: Review of Loewe Spring Summer 2021 Collection
For Miu Miu Spring Summer 2021 digital presentation, Miuccia Prada deftly combined sportswear with feminine details to achieve a fun mix that toed the line between spin class and high tea. We were spectators of the ‘United Games of Miu Miu’, with looks playfully referencing tennis dresses, golfing attire and olympic uniforms. But the talk of the town was definitely the runway debut of supermodel Kate Moss’ 18-year-old daughter, Lila Moss.
Related article: Review of Miu Miu Spring Summer 2021 Collection
The bright colours and joyous prints at Kenzo Spring Summer 2021 not only uplifted our spirits but also echoed the struggles the world is facing at this moment. The veiled hats by creative director Felipe Oliveira Baptista referenced beekeepers’ protective gear, but they were also a true reflection of our own oscillating feelings of being exposed and the need to be protected.
Related article: Review of Kenzo Spring Summer 2021 Collection
Balenciaga brought us back to gritty reality with a video collection that was filmed in various iconic locations all around Paris. The pandemic has forced us to rethink how we conceptualise and produce fashion, and this SS21 collection places a lot of emphasis on sustainability. About 93.5 percent of materials used are sustainable or up-cycled using craft and couture techniques. Unlike previous seasons, the clothes are purposefully ripped up, creating a juxtaposition between lived-in and craftsmanship.
Related article: Review of Balenciaga Spring Summer 2021 Pre-Collection
It’s a challenging time to debut a collection as the new artistic director of Givenchy but Matthew Williams delivered. Charging forward unapologetically, this collection was a ‘sampler’ of what Williams has in mind for the house’s new direction. There was a clear expression of sexy, industrial-chic, that was conveyed through a reinvention of the brand’s most iconic accessories. Even without the fanfare of a physical show, we were left feeling excited to see what Williams has up his sleeves next.
Related article: Review of Givenchy Spring Summer 2021 Collection
Savage x Fenty
Though not part of the Paris Fashion Week calendar, the launch of Savage x Fenty Vol. 2 show on Amazon Prime was nonetheless a main event of the week. Rihanna has always made inclusivity a core value of her brand, and it was even more obvious in her show. The diverse and star-studded cast — Cara Delevingne, Bella Hadid, Lizzo, Demi Moore and Paris Hilton, to name a few — represented every woman, regardless of shape, race, and age.
Related article: Review of Rihanna’s Savage x Fenty Collection
Chanel once again reminded us that fashion week is not just for presenting clothes, but to also make us dream — the intrigue of what’s in store (always a highlight during fashion week), plus the beautiful set design that transforms the Grand Palais, something Chanel is renowned for. These elements of anticipation are as much a big part of the storytelling as the collection itself. And to know that there were people present to really live that experience (as small and exclusive as that audience was), makes the dream ever more vivid and seductive.
Related article: Review of Chanel Spring Summer 2021 Collection