Paris Fashion Week wrapped up yesterday after nine days of experiments showing how the industry is embracing technology and new approaches for a world after COVID-19.
While many fashion houses stuck to online presentations, the biggest names got back to the catwalk, but new twists showed the lessons learned during lockdowns and greater sensitivity to environmental concerns.
WHAT IS REAL?
One of the most inventive runway shows came from Balenciaga, which fooled its guests into becoming part of the spectacle. Arriving via a red carpet, people were unaware that the models were walking among them until a big screen relayed their entrance and highlighted the show’s outfits.
The line between guest and model disappeared as it became known that some of the celebrities had been secretly recruited as models, including racecar driver Lewis Hamilton and actress Isabelle Huppert.
The New York Times called it a “knife-sharp belly laugh of an experiment on ... our digital lives, where posing has become the norm [and] voyeurism is a constant.”
One advantage of online presentations is that they give viewers time to appreciate the clothes.
Dior embraced the idea, using a game show-style rotating stage that allowed the models and their outfits to be seen from multiple angles.
Christian Louboutin, creator of the famous pumps, offered an immersive experience, plunging the audience into digital landscapes before presenting the shoes on podiums, jazzed up with digital effects, while dancers put them through their paces.
Young French star Marine Serre opted for an online presentation, but said that it was screened before several hundred guests in Paris to “give it some warmth and appreciation.”
The clothes could be seen and touched, while Serre discussed directly with guests.
British veteran Paul Smith also took an intimate approach, inviting guests to his atelier, where he gave commentary on each outfit.
Although the fashion industry has been accused of empty posturing on the environment, some designers have said they are determined to make a difference.
Stella McCartney displayed the first-ever bag made from “mylo” mushroom leather. It was part of a collection that went heavy on natural vibes, with even the music being inspired by fungi.
Gabriella Hearst also highlighted her green credentials, saying that 58 percent of her designs for Chloe were from low-impact materials, while Dutch label Botter used recovered plastic waste from the sea for its aquatic-inspired collection.
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