With a lack of audience and schedules that deviated far from fashion week norms, the industry still seemed determined to live up to the cliche, “The show must go on!”
Amid the backdrop of the pandemic which was rapidly reaching its one year anniversary, designers leveraged their creativity and displayed their resilience, hosting a myriad of non-traditional shows, including hybrid physical/digital events that are likely to become a new normal in the seasons to come.
Louis Vuitton’s show was certainly a high point for the season. The world’s most valuable luxury brand was sans audience, but stuck with a traditional catwalk as they livestreamed from the Louvre in Paris.
Balmain took a different– but no less dramatic–approach. The label seized the opportunity of the new paradigm and created a film to showcase their newest collection. The setting was, of course, spectacular and unique. The label shot in an Air France hangar at Paris-Charles de Gaulle, using the wings of a grounded plane as the de facto stage.Balmain wasn’t the only brand to take a cinematic approach. Dior, never one to be shy about opulence, chose the Palais de Versailles as the setting for their film.
There were definitely some common themes throughout the shows. Playfulness and escapism were on full display, certainly in response to the constraints of the past year and all of our need to get out and have some fun. We’re thankful the designers were able to share some brightness and take us to beautiful locations, helping us forget, for a moment, that we’re stuck at home.
Of course, fashion week isn’t just about clothing. There were a lot of fabulous bags topping off the runway looks. Here are some of our favorites, all of which we cannot wait to get our hands on. For the data!
As we noted, Louis Vuitton held their audience-less show in the eerily empty Louvre museum in Paris, where models sauntered through the beautiful Michaelangelo and Daru Galleries to the music of Daft Punk. Taking inspiration from Ancient Greece, the collection showcased designs adorned by illustrations from the renowned Milanese interior and decorative object company Fornasetti
Fast forwarding a couple thousand years, Chanel’s production harkened back to the Parisian club scene of the 1970s. The collection itself was influenced by the label’s muse Stella Tennant, with “ski spirit” and even their own fall 1994 collection as inspiration. In lieu of the big spectacles at Paris’ Grand Palais for which the label is known, Chanel Creative Director Virginie Viard went for a different vibe this year. “I wanted to show in a small place, a club. I don’t like big rave venues;” she said. “I prefer that kind of place that is more intimate.”
Dior Creative Director Maria Grazia Chiur set her show at the opulent (if not ostentatious) Hall of Mirrors at the Palace of Versailles. With that backdrop and a number of nods to fairy tales, the show quite literally offered a reflection on the dangers of vanity. Chuir wanted to highlight the ongoing battle between appearance and character, a battle she attributes to the digital narcissism that is all too prevalent today.
Like Louis Vuitton, the Hermès show was streamed live, but in what is most definitely a first, the show was presented from three different continents. First was a dance sequence, shot in New York City. The show then cut to the runway in Paris before closing with another dance piece, this time half a world away in Shanghai. Creative Director Vanhee-Cybulski’s said of her collection, “The message to the world is that I have this conviction of designing clothes for a confident woman. It was about resilience.”
Acknowledging the massive impact of the pandemic on fashion, Miuccia Prada and Raf Simmons presented a collection defined by ease and movement yet one that still displayed the brand’s classic elegance and glamour.
Credit all photos to Vogue