Parisian fashion houses make a timid return to the catwalks
French fashion houses are tiptoeing back this week after more than a year of crisis that rocked the industry and left many wondering if the traditional calendar will ever return.
With the easing of pandemic restrictions, many in the Parisian fashion world are hoping that Men’s Fashion Week, starting Tuesday, marks the start of a return to normalcy.
Yet only six of the 72 brands that make up the official Parisian fashion calendar will be presenting live shows this week, although they include two big names in the form of Dior and HermÃ¨s.
It follows an equally tentative return to Milan, where only three of the 47 – Dolce and Gabbana, Etro and Armani – offered live events for this week’s Spring / Summer 2022 fashion show.
New York won’t be back in physical form until September, while the new gender-neutral London Fashion Week has also remained fully digital so far.
In Paris, many big names remain confined to computer screens, including Louis Vuitton, Dries Van Noten, Loewe and Tom Browne.
Pascal Morand, president of the French Federation of Haute Couture and Fashion, told AFP that there was “a very strong desire to go back to the physical”.
But he was not ashamed to use the word “phygital” for the current state of affairs.
“It will not be one or the other. It will be both, and it is a sign of innovation,” he insisted.
– ‘Obsolete’ –
Still, many top designers seem to think the days of the rigid spring / summer calendar are over in the four major fashion capitals.
Berluti, for example, said he would now follow his own schedule and showcased his men’s collection in Shanghai in April, reflecting the growing importance of Asian buyers.
Another big absentee from Paris this week is Hedi Slimane, head designer at CÃ©line.
Even before the coronavirus pandemic, he declared the fashion calendar “obsolete”, telling Le Monde: “These days, creating a sense of event and scarcity seems more essential than compulsory exercise at a fixed time. “.
His last two collections for men and women, in February and April, were presented through poetic short films set in castles.
Morand played down those absences, saying there had always been names missing from the list and that the institution of the fashion calendar was not in jeopardy.
“C’est la vie,” he said of the missing brands, and highlighted the return of CourrÃ¨ges and Balenciaga to next month’s haute couture week, as well as the desire of many young brands to join. line-ups.
– ‘Made on Instagram’ –
Brazilian designer Francisco Terra, from young label Neith Nyer, is not among those keen to go back to the traditional way of doing things.
He withdrew from the official event in Paris this week to organize his own parade on Thursday followed by a four-day pop-up store “to directly test customer reactions.”
“I don’t think we really need the schedule,” he told AFP. “The image of a young brand is on Instagram, with celebrities and especially outside of the seasons.”
But some of the more golden names are gearing up for a comeback.
Chanel fashion director Bruno Pavlovsky called last month for “a return to a little discipline”, and the famous fashion house will be back on the catwalk for next month’s haute couture week in Paris.
Dior too, who already returned to live last week with his mid-season show in Athens.
– ‘A responsability’ –
It’s not just about coming back to champagne receptions.
Fashion houses have “a responsibility to their suppliers,” Dior women’s fashion designer Maria Grazia Chiuri told AFP, especially after the terrible economic blow that many have suffered from the pandemic.
However, small fashion houses, whose markets focus on clothing for the ultra-rich outside of Europe, say it is still too early to return to the podium.
âWe are not going to do a live broadcast knowing that opinion makers from China, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United States cannot come,â said French designer Julien Fournie.
âAt the moment, there is not the right atmosphere,â added his contemporary StÃ©phane Rolland. “I don’t miss the live shows because I know they will come back eventually.”
Â© 2021 AFP