Fashion Week is Actually On – At least in Paris and Milan | Instant News

Some of the biggest luxury fashion brands are carefully stepping back onto European catwalks, deciding that vanguard rumors are worth the complications of hosting during the coronavirus pandemic.

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Chanel and others will stay for the next two weeks in Milan and Paris minimized version typical event. Many influencers and celebrities who crowded past shows will be sidelined due to limitations on international travel, and famous models from Brazil, the US, and Russia are also stuck at home. Those who succeed will sit apart.

The Milan show kicks off Wednesday, with face masks and hand sanitizer among the most popular accessories. Temperature checks at the door are common, while Dolce & Gabbana provide visitors with cloth masks with their signature patterns.

The brand is determined to relaunch an industry ritual that some designers say cannot be replicated online. The biggest houses usually put up spectacular fashion week sets designed to dominate social media feeds, with creative directors planning the perfect Instagrammable moment. Brands closely monitor the attention their events – and competitors’ events – garner on social media, and analysts say that strong looks during fashion week help translate to market share.

People were waiting for guests to arrive at the Dolce & Gabbana show in Milan on Wednesday.


Luca Bruno / Associated Press

“Live performances are the basics,” said Stefano Gabbana, half of the design duo who founded the Italian brand. They are a complete experience. Music and scenography when viewed in person create emotions that are different from those obtained when done digitally. “

The publicity value of traditional and social media for an attention-grabbing event could be the equivalent of millions of dollars in paid advertising, according to the company that monitors media responses to fashion week.

Some of the major European brands, including Giorgio Armani and


have considered the risks of hosting too great for the audience, opting instead for digital shows.

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—Gucci, Saint Laurent, Bottega Veneta and Balenciaga – have decided not to have physical shows this season. Gucci and Saint Laurent have decided not to appear at all during Milan or Paris fashion week. Gucci will hold a digital special event in October or November, said a brand executive.

In July, Gucci and its designer, Alessandro Michele, reached more than 35 million viewers with a 12-hour live stream that broadcast a behind-the-scenes look at its yacht collection, called the Epilogue. The experience helps convince brands that they don’t need to rely on physical performances to create buzz, the executive said.

Model backstage at the Simona Marziali show.


Luca Bruno / Associated Press

The move comes amid a pandemic-fueled reckoning about the show’s purpose, which sends huge caravans of journalists, industry buyers, influencers and celebrities to New York, London, Milan and Paris, twice a year – and that’s just for women ready-to-wear. . With so many brands touting their environmental performance, the pollution all air travel creates – and the cost – has some fashion houses wondering if a change is needed.

“We do not believe that fashion shows as they know them and fashion week are anything that matters to us anymore,” said the Gucci executive.

In France, brands are moving forward with their performances soaring coronavirus cases in Paris. The government on Wednesday announced new restrictions on gatherings in the city, but industry officials said the new rules would not affect fashion shows.


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European fashion executives have spent months planning how to safely entertain audiences. To accommodate even a small audience, fashion houses measure the ceiling height of the premises and airflow patterns to determine how many people they can invite.

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SE, the world’s largest luxury company, will hold shows in Paris for brands including Louis Vuitton and Dior. Chanel, the world’s second-largest fashion brand by revenue, returns to the airy exhibition space of the Grand Palais Paris, where the label’s past shows replicated the forests, beaches and rooftops of Paris.

In Milan, about a third of the catwalks are expected to host spectators. Giorgio Armani, who put on a digital show on Saturday, gave a quick response coronavirus test to all models and workers who entered his building.

On Wednesday, LVMH’s Fendi is the first major fashion house to hold a live show. A string quartet is played as about 50 socially distant, masked spectators watch the Italian brand perform its style for next year’s spring and summer.

A small group of fans gathered near the entrance to Fendi’s headquarters in Milan, but guests inside sat a few feet apart on white sofas swerving along the runway.

A scene from the Simona Marziali show in Milan.


Luca Bruno / Associated Press

Dolce & Gabbana’s fashion show takes place in a converted cinema, with a public announcement for guests to keep their masks on. After that, the announcement directed the audience to go in part, not all at once.

One reason brands are taking the risk is that some of the earliest attempts to digitally connect with audiences have stumbled. Earlier this month, during New York Fashion Week, most brands held special online fashion shows. That week generated far less buzz on social and traditional media than previous face-to-face fashion weeks, according to a company that tracks media interest.

Influencers and their followers are less involved with events when the influencer is not in the room, analysts say.

“Having an influencer in front of his laptop just posting, it’s not very effective,” said Michael Jaïs, chief executive of Launchmetrics, which monitors media for fashion brands.

Two of New York Fashion Week’s most successful shows had small live events, said Jaïs. Christian Siriano, who launched his brand after winning Season 4 of “Project Runway,” hosted a show for about 80 people at his home in Westport, Conn., Where his models used lawns as catwalks. Jason Wu, the Taiwanese-Canadian designer, caught the eye of the crowds at the rooftop garden of Spring Studios in New York.

“That’s the importance of physical performance,” said Mr Jaïs.

Guest section before Simona Marziali’s spring-summer show on Wednesday during Milan fashion week.


Luca Bruno / Associated Press

Write to Matthew Dalton at [email protected] and Eric Sylvers at [email protected]

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