Paris Fashion Week’s nine-day digital-show experience for Spring 2021 finished last week, albeit in a different way. The live presentation accounts for about fifty percent of the brand’s disclosed collection. The current Coronavirus pandemic is driving all but local retailers away – and some of them even choose to sit back and watch online.
With common sense that set no travel rules for overseas buyers, they experienced the show virtually. I asked four retail executives: Roopal Patel, Fashion Director, Saks Fifth Avenue, Laure Heriard Debreuil, founder of The Webster, Lisa Aiken, Moda Operandi’s Buying and Fashion Director, and Libby Paige, Senior Fashion Market Editor of Net-A-Porter, their opinion . about the seasons in Paris and what their shelves and webpages will save this Spring.
NO BEATS IN PEOPLE All unanimously agree that not seeing and feeling clothes in person, especially in Paris, is a negative thing. Except for Paige, who saw some important agreements for the accounts (CAN SHE NAME AND WHERE?), All retail executives watching shows on line.
“Not being able to see clothes and feel emotions can affect how you feel about a collection,” says Paige admitting missed the mood and mood, including croissants! “As cliches as they may sound, they contribute to our feelings and help tell the story of what direction the industry is interested in.”
On a professional level, Aiken misses instant reactions to shows and products. “I miss human interaction with our brand partners, editors and stylists,” he added.
Debreuil noted the strange feeling of not attending shows and appointments in person. “That is if I skip school!” He and his team pay extra attention to detail. “Not seeing and feeling the style in person is difficult enough; our buying and curating are inspired at these moments by sensory experience,” explains Debreuil. However, although she misses the energy of the hands-on experience and the ‘back to school’ joy of seeing designers and colleagues being given a fashion show, the result is extra time at home with her children.
Patel felt that not seeing the collection in person this time made him grateful for the live shows he has attended over the more than 15 years of his career. “Nothing compares to attending a live show and seeing clothing up close and personal. It’s a unique experience,” he said, adding, “you can view the collection on your computer or cell phone, you can’t capture the magic and creative power of a designer. put into a collection or experience the same level of connection. And if I feel that connection, I know our customers will too. “She hasn’t missed the soaring viral stress experienced in the final collection in March of this year.
One thing that doesn’t change when you experience a show digitally is your favorite show. Paige, Aiken, and Debreuil cite Jonathan Anderson’s ‘Show-On-The-Wall’ for Loewe, whose elaborate invitations include a kit for sticking campaign posters to the wall among their favorites. Other highlight names are Chloe’s digital show format, which mixes live performances and digital experiences to create a street-style vibe, or the Balenciaga model parading through the streets of Paris at night singing along with a version of Corey Hart’s “Sunglasses at Night” song. Marine Serre shows another world film titled Amor Fati, which shows off her new crescent moon motif through a group of would-be followers to the androgynous protagonist.
Salvatore Ferragamo sends VR glasses to his digital show guests, enabling a truly immersive experience that makes viewers feel like they’re indoors. A circular runway covered in a Paco Rabanne silver palette and a digital front row creates an immersive global experience, turning this small, limited event into a fashion moment that goes beyond live presentation.
However there were some unexpected upgrades with designers showing off their collections in digital format, especially for online retailers only. Brands are impressively creative with presentation, producing as much content, awareness and intel as possible, “he says of digital storytelling.” This is exactly how Moda’s clients shop, so it provides a good context for the online experience. ”
Paige agrees. “This has allowed us to really see brands that are creative and able to stand out over the years,” he said, adding, “It gives us the clarity to look at the product digitally and how it will work with our online shopper.”
SPRING 2021: WHAT CUSTOMER WANT
Most retailers agree that once Spring 2021 hits the sales floor or website, things haven’t returned to ‘normal’. “I think this shift will shape the way we approach clothing for a long time,” said Paige. She has noticed themes of escape and excitement in reality-based collections and outfits such as sumptuous spring sweater sets, casual stitching, and denims like Balenciaga and Valentino x Levi’s.
“With increasing time spent at home, our customers are looking for versatile, yet functional clothing that embraces a new relaxed attitude and smart-casual wear,” says Paige.
Aiken said that Moda Operandi women like to dress for special occasions, but she said, “Obviously, for 2020, a lot has been postponed.” That still doesn’t rule out outdoor gatherings, and Aiken observes that Spring 2021 has a feminine side with A-line skirts, dainty tops, and female-like shoes all in soft pastels. If she spends more time at home, “Client Moda likes to get dressed in the morning.” Emphasizing comfort while maintaining femininity and individuality, their customers have swapped blazers for oversized cardigans.
“The new hero part is the cardigan, he just can’t get enough of it,” cites the Khaite cardigan and bralette, the Jacquemus shrink cardigan or the traditional styles from the Brock Collection as best-sellers.
Debreuil says her clients are aiming for luxurious casual wear and athletic aesthetics. Her clients are attracted to pretty comfortable dresses, bra tops, and glam sportswear. A strong spring trend is cut details, lace details, bold prints, and cotton candy colors. “We are optimistic about the idea of dressing” back to normal. “However, we believe in the new normal,” noting their purchases focused on the styles and looks that have stood out this season. “We have learned a lot about our clients this fall and how they approach their current shopping, beneficial when writing orders this season, he added,” They buy investments and basic goods of good value and quality. “SADAR’s E-comm department, he has seen clients take a greater interest in sustainability as well.
Debreuil sees the industry today as half full. “The positive outcome for 2020 is seeing our industry take steps to implement and create change in areas such as racial equality, bodily positivity, sustainability and politics.”
The season had unexpected results for Patel. “Happily, we were surprised to see that Spring 2021 was not as relaxed as we had thought,” she said, noting there was still plenty of room for what she dubs, “the laid-back woman.” For Saks, this means luxurious and versatile casual wear with a raised kaftan, tunic, robe and pajama outfit. Breezy dresses in a variety of colors, casual stitching focused on oversized blazers, bra tops, bike shorts, denim, knits, and lace emerged as the main trends for tony retailers. Of course, there’s also the Zoom effect, which calls for a bright top, bold earrings, and a bold lip color as a focal point.
Apart from keeping track of seasonal trends, Saks is focused on meeting customer needs during an unprecedented time through additional services. Saks by Appointment allows customers to book a personal time slot before or after the store opens to shop or try Virtual Shopping to allow them to visit locations such as Saks Boston for a ‘style advisor’ video conference appointment. Saks at Home reverses the scenario and sends style experts to its clients’ homes with selected merchandise to consult on wardrobe cleaning style sessions. Finally, Try Before You Buy, an invitation-only service that sends selected items to clients’ homes. Customers are charged for what they store, and Saks takes the remaining stock.