The one silver lining to the fashion industry’s pandemic response is that the haute couture shows — ordinarily a very exclusive event open only to the world’s top fashion editors — is now available for the whole world to watch.
Paris Haute Couture Week typically takes place twice a year, and only the top houses which have been invited into the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture can show. It’s considered a very big moment for the industry, which is why the event wasn’t completely canceled this season, and instead went ahead as a virtual event from July 6th to today.
For safety reasons, these shows and presentations won’t have an audience – which means they’ll be streamed online for anyone to watch, rather than being invitation-only events for industry insiders.
Naomi Campbell opened the digital event with a video in which she addresses issues of inequality and racism in the fashion industry.
Balmain’s show has already happened, and you can catch up with all the action on creative director Olivier Rousteing’s Instagram page. Many designers are using the digital format to explore new types of presentations, which aren’t tied to a physical runway event. This season, Rousteing set up a catwalk on a boat that sailed along the Seine through central Paris.
Schiaparelli has also already streamed a video to honor the event, which shows artistic director Daniel Roseberry sitting in a New York park sketching out the looks for the brand’s latest collection.
London Fashion Week recently staged its first-ever digital fashion week, and although it gave us a taste of how these online events might go down, few of the major labels were involved. However, the same cannot be said for Paris, as many of the big names are showing a collection or producing a special video for the occasion.
Below are some of the highlights, which will be hosted on the official website as well as individual platforms.
With normal fashion shows off the table, Dior’s doing something a little different this season. The French fashion house is still producing a couture collection, but it will be shrunk to 40% the size of the normal clothes. The opulent dresses will be worn by dolls, which is apparently a trend dating back to World War II where mini clothes were made and toured around the world to show haute couture was alive and well.
Creative director Maria Grazia Chiuri told WWD, “During the lockdown, I saw many articles about the digital world, but honestly, fashion is not only digital. It’s not something you can only see. You have to touch it, you have to see the craftsmanship, especially in couture. In this way, we can send the collection around the world to our clients.”
Watch Savoir Flair‘s exclusive behind-the-scenes video of the making of the show here.
Iris van Herpen
Dutch designer Iris van Herpen is always a highlight of haute couture week, as she manages to fuse fashion and technology in an innovative and unique way.
Ralph & Russo
Ralph & Russo embraced the digital side of things with its show. The dreamy collection, inspired by the seven wonders of the world, was brought to life by a mix of real-life models and a digitally created avatar, Hauli — a Swahili word symbolizing strength and power.
Chanel opened day two of the event with a presentation. Virginie Viard‘s eccentric Fall 2020 Couture collection for Chanel paid homage to Karl Lagerfeld. “This collection is more inspired by Karl Lagerfeld than Gabrielle Chanel. Karl would go to ‘Le Palace’, he would accompany these very sophisticated and very dressed up women, who were very eccentric too.”, she explained.
Valentino’s creative director Pierpaolo Piccioli isn’t content with just a digital show this season. He’ll be showing a short video on the inspirations behind his latest collection – closing the event at 5 pm BST on July 8 – and following this up with a live show on July 21 in Rome (which will also be streamed online).