To recap the end of Paris Fashion Week, we round up our five favourite presentations by Roger Vivier, Christian Louboutin, Louis Vuitton, Loewe and Isabel Marant
Eight months ago, COVID-19 was hot on the heels of Paris Fashion Week, the last, huge-scale international event to occur before the virus threw us all for a loop and upended our lives. With global lockdowns still occurring and the fate of international travel still uncertain, it is unclear what the fashion industry’s role is in this current economic climate.
After all, fashion is about fantasy, but what happens when dreams have to be put on hold because survival comes first? But here we are, a season later, with the industry still soldiering on, showcasing that there is still strength and power in beauty. And like a phoenix rising from the ashes, the industry has proven that creativity can still thrive even in the most unique of situations.
While not all brands have chosen to stage physical shows for their own reasons, it seemed like many were keen for things to go back to normal. “During lockdown we were all stuck at home, unable to go outside. I was missing it a lot,”says Julien Dossena, creative director of Paco Rabanne. “You know, you build the fantasy of what you miss.”
This has given rise to the presence of ‘phygital’ shows; experimental formats that blend both physical and digital elements. Presentations that mixed in the intimacy of real-life and the live showings that many designers heavily believed in, but with a new, digital twist. And as a way to engage the show-goers who weren’t able to fly in.
While the pandemic has certainly taken its toll on the industry as a whole, it is clear that those who prevail with true ingenuity will come out of this crisis much stronger. With social distancing being a global (and mandatory) theme, brands have had to find new and innovative ways to connect with audiences through a screen, and still create beautiful clothes that we will want to wear after quarantine is over.
While the mood this fashion week might be sombre, the spirit is still strong. As designers push the envelope and the limitations of what can be done, we take a look at some of our favourite fashion presentations this season, and the refreshing ways that designers have chosen to showcase them.
View this post on Instagram
HOTEL VIVIER CINÉMATHÈQUE, hosted by multi-awarded French actress @Isabelle.Huppert, the first #RogerVivier interactive movie imagined by Creative Director @GherardoFelloni to present Spring/Summer 2021. Play THE GAME now via link in bio. #SS21 #PFW #HotelVivier #IsabelleHuppert #GherardoFelloni Creative Direction: @GherardoFelloni Director: @NicolangeloGelormini Written & created by: @Genny_Ferlopez Stylist: @ElisaNalin_ Music: @Makai_Space
Roger Vivier’s Hotel Vivier Cinémathèqe
Ever since Gherardo Felloni was appointed as creative director of Roger Vivier, he has wasted no time creating fantastical press presentations at Paris Fashion Week. His Hotel Vivier events invite guests to immerse themselves into a world that is both theatrical and beautiful.
This season, Felloni has chosen a different medium to draw in his viewers, this time in the form of Hotel Vivier Cinémathèqe, an interactive movie as imagined by him. Starring Isabelle Huppert, the movie is a mysterious and surrealist choose-your-own-adventure type of story, allowing viewers to dictate the fate of the French actress. Think Stephen King’s The Shining, but a lot more colourful, and definitely way more fashion.
If you get all the answers right, you’ll win access to view Roger Vivier’s latest collection. But if you lose, then Huppert gets stuck in the hotel forever. (Well, not really, but you know what we mean.)
View this post on Instagram
LOEWE SS21 Show-on-the-Wall A set of different elements to be individually assembled by the recipient freezes the fashion content on a wall, in real size. The Show-on-the-Wall is a sum of different actions, all actively carried out by the recipient, which bring the spectator closer to the clothing. Posters featuring the looks and accessories arrive in an oversized artist’s portfolio, one of its faces screenprinted with an image by Steven Meisel, previously published by Vogue Italia in 1999. Accompanied by a series of tools including a canvas tool bag, a roll of wallpaper designed by artist Anthea Hamilton, a roll of wallpaper borders depicting all the looks from the collection, wallpaper glue, a brush, scissors, a ceramic disc infused with Beetroot scent and a catalogue raisonné. "The Show-on-the-Wall is derived from the idea that the SS21 Women’s collection was created remotely and rethinks how we contextualize fashion in this moment. While we are in a situation where travel is restricted we invite the viewer to interact and be creative." – Jonathan Anderson, creative director Creative direction by @Jonathan.Anderson and @MMparisdotcom Photography @Atome #LOEWE #LOEWESS21
Last season, in lieu of a fashion show, Loewe sent out a box set called Show-in-a-Box that would allow members of the press to slowly construct their own show with cut-out paper components. For spring/summer 2021, creative director Jonathan Anderson skipped a physical showing again in preference of another box set, aptly titled Show-on-the-Wall.
Inspired by an artist’s portfolio, the box set is filled with life-size posters of the looks and accessories from the show, meant to be assembled by the recipient in any way they choose to interpret it. Accompanied by that is a series of tools, such as a roll of wallpaper designed by artist Anthea Hamilton, a roll of wallpaper borders depicting all the looks from the collection, wallpaper glue, a brush, scissors, a ceramic disc infused with beetroot scent and a catalogue raisonné, allowing the recipients to decorate their homes and belongings à la Casa Loewe.
Christian Louboutin’s goes digital with Zepeto
International leisure travel might still be banned but we still got to experience Paris in Christian Louboutin’s vision. Together with Zepeto, an app that allows you to create a 3D animated version of yourself to use in in-app chat rooms, Christian Louboutin has created a place where you get to customise your own avatar and explore the world of Louboutin.
In the game, you’ll be able to explore the city of lights, try on the latest collections at the Loubi Boutique and even dance the night away on the lighted floors of the Loubi Disco. You’ll also be able to rub shoulders with some of your favourite celebrities and influencers, watch King Princess perform and hang out with the man himself, Christian Louboutin.
View this post on Instagram
We partnered up with Kara Chung (@animalcrossingfashionarchive) to recreate outfits from the Isabel Marant (@isabelmarant) marant FW20 capsule collection for players to wear within the game. Dream code: 9835-1060-5257 #netaporter #isabelmarant #animalcrossing #acnh #branding #gaming #gamingdesign #islanddesign
Net-a-Porter x Isabel Marant’s Animal Crossing New Horizons Island
In the crossover that no one expected, Animal Crossing has become the new home for fashion lovers. Thanks to the myriad of designer outfits viewers can dress their avatar in, the Nintendo game has become an unlikely outlet for fashion fans in lockdown.
While plenty of designers have since launched actual collections on the game itself, Net-a-Porter went one step above and debuted an entire island, dedicated to their brand new Isabel Marant collection. The exclusive island was by-invite only, and selected were flown in (on Animal Crossing’s Dodo Airlines, obviously) for a series of fun activities.
There were photo opps, free swimwear (via a QR code on the beach), an outdoor marketplace filled with the exclusive collection, a café, an outdoor spa and relaxation area, a rose garden. and even a ‘local’ branch of Net-a-porter’s HQ office.
View this post on Instagram
#LVSS21 Striking juxtapositions. @NicolasGhesquiere chose the top floor of Samaritaine building as the backdrop for his latest #LouisVuitton presentation. Among the historic monument’s Art Deco architecture and Art Nouveau frescoes are green screens for an enhanced virtual experience. Watch the Show now on louisvuitton.com Show video features extracts from Wings of Desire directed by Wim Wenders Music composed by @tepr_ Musical direction by @woodkidmusic
Louis Vuitton’s green screen fashion show
After a huge, multi-million dollar renovation, it seemed befitting that French house Louis Vuitton would be the first to hold an iconic event at the Samaritaine. Nicolas Ghesquière chose the top floor of the building as the backdrop for his latest presentation.
The historic monument’s Art Deco architecture and Art Nouveau frescoes were a match made in heaven with Ghesquière, seeing as the creative director draw huge influences from those movements for his designs.
Combining old together with the new, green screens featuring extracts from German film Wings of Desire (1987) were used to enhance the virtual experience for viewers watching at home as models weaved in between. It was a physical runway show with a new digital slant, something that we’re sure will continue to be a thing for more shows in the future.
Is this the end of the old Fashion Week as we know it?
With brands like Gucci and Saint Laurent dropping off the mainstream fashion calendar and brands choosing to stage creative presentations, will the fashion week as we know it cease to exist? Or will COVID-19 be the push for an overhaul it desperately needs?
After all, even before the virus, the environmental impact of the fashion industry was already raising a lot of questions. As fashion designer Daniel Roseberry told commentator Tim Blanks in a recent podcast by The Business of Fashion, “There is something very irrelevant about what we bring to the table right now. Fashion shows don’t have to be relevant right now. There (are so) many other things that are more important.”
And Roseberry speaks a lot of truth. It’s not that relevant now. But that doesn’t mean there is still important in a physical show. It should, however, be scaled down to prevent less of a circus. While digitally we’re all more connected than ever, it’s the human connection that cannot be replicated. The familiar faces you see at the shows, a designers jubilant face as they take their finale bow, bonding with a colleague over the perks (and pitfalls) of being at fashion week.
Ultimately a digital showing might connect with you temporarily, but it’s the sense of community that can never be replaced.