It was in Milan, a year and a few days ago, that the caravan of journalists, buyers and personalities invited to the fashion shows saw the first signs of a health disaster that would place the whole world under house arrest. After an Italian fashion week shrouded in terror, the Parisian parades had been held up. Very few wore the mask then in this large, almost organized chic bazaar: meters of 1,500 guests for the biggest shows, closed spaces, sometimes a seat for two people…
Expressing a pop culture globalized by social networks, and essential components in the luxury business ecosystem, the parades were then at the height of their extravagance. The big houses competed for resources, multiplied the collections and let their guests travel to the other side of the world for a show and a few strategic posts. And then, overnight, it all stopped. More travel, more gatherings of people.
Since then, brands and their artistic directors have had to reinvent a format that seemed immutable. Why parade without an audience? How can we continue to inspire and give meaning to this series of clothing and accessory collections? How to print the retina with digital images? After several seasons of taste, sometimes successful, sometimes unsuccessful attempts, this jubilee fashion week is a pivotal moment for fashion.
What has changed ? Some houses (Saint Laurent, Gucci, Celine, etc.) took advantage of this year’s breakup to get off the official calendar and end the frenzied flow of collections, pre-collections, and other cruise collections. Those who chose to stay made more personal, creative, more committed proposals. Sustainability, diversity, inclusion are now part of the equation. Everyone agrees that nothing will replace the energy of physical parades. The wait, the crowd, the music, the litany of bodies rushing by… but if they resume as soon as possible, the rhythm won’t be the same and will continue digitally.
This season, fashion is no longer waiting for the end of restrictions and an unrealistic return to the old system. Designers celebrated joy, colors (Chanel, Prada, Loewe, Dolce & Gabbana…), an absolute form of aesthetics and excellence (Fendi, Givenchy, Armani, Valentino, Hermès…) and more than ever art came into dialogue with fashion ( Dior, Vuitton, Dries Van Noten…).
English fashion in turmoil
It’s a cry for help that more than 450 players in the fashion and luxury industry in England have sent in the form of an open letter to Boris Johnson. Among them are big names, such as Paul Smith or Vivienne Westwood. Locked up at the beginning of January and threatened by a very aggressive variant of the virus, England is also suffering the consequences of the Brexit, which will take place on 1 January.er January. Like many other industries, fashion is not spared. As the signatories to this letter indicate, the textile industry represents £35 billion of UK GDP and employs nearly 1 million people. For Caroline Rush, chief executive of the British Fashion Council, the situation is worrying for small brands and emerging labels, as well as established ones.
“It is without a doubt the most difficult year for the fashion industry in England. And everyone is concerned, be it designers, brands, retailers, but also consumers who have to change their habits. Brexit, which was pronounced at the last minute, surprised everyone and led to many administrative questions, problems with taxes and customs delays for raw materials, as well as visas for foreign talent. There are many things to consider that we were not prepared for. The British Fashion Council is trying to help industry players as best they can, but it will take some time for everything to fall into place. †
London Fashion Week was greeted as a relief: “It was amazing to see all this creativity come to life,” says Caroline Rush. The event, which was fully digital, featured nearly 100 presentations from creators. English fashion has not yet said the last word. MG
Young creation: focus on the five designers that follow
Paris Fashion Week ended on March 10. The event is known for welcoming prestigious homes and trendy designers. New talents can also be revealed during this fashion week. Even in times of pandemic, fashion continues its creative process. If they don’t all break through, some are already drawing attention.
This is the case for the French Mossi Traoré and Alexandre Blanc or the Swiss Kevin Germanier, all three registered for SPHERE Paris Fashion Week® Showroom (support program for young creation set up by the Federation of Haute Couture and Fashion in January 2020). Each offers a clearly confirmed vision of fashion: urban, sociable and engaged (Mossi), very French and sophisticated (Alexandre Blanc), optimistic and sustainable (Germanier).
Entered for the first time in the fashion week calendar, the American Andreas Aresti, founder of the Lourdes label in 2020, seduces with a short film “Dancing in the Light”, conceived as a eulogy to the simplicity of contemporary clothing. Another newcomer to the calendar, Frenchman Victor Weinsanto impressed with a 7-minute 45-minute video “Les Courtisanes”, a mix of cutting edge and glamorous underground fashion. To be continued. AF
Coperni, the kings of the D system.
How do you make an impression during fashion week in the digital age? That is the question that Arnaud Vaillant and Sébastien Meyer, the duo at the head of Coperni, seem to have asked themselves. After last season as one of the rare brands (18) presented a face-to-face show in Paris (on the roof of the Montparnasse tower), the young label came up with the idea to organize a drive-in fashion show at the AccorHotels Arena de Bercy, respecting barrier gestures.
“We have invited 70 journalists, spread over 36 cars, to be both actors and spectators of the parade. Like a choreographed show, the cars drove into Bercy and lit the silhouettes with their headlights. We even made a pirate radio to coordinate all the stations in each car,” explains Arnaud Vaillant. A practice of a new kind of cut for the next world and social networks. AF
The Marine Greenhouse UFO
It is a very unique experience that Marine Serre has offered this season. Through a mini-site called “Core”, the designer of Corrèze invites you to dive into her universe to present her 2021-22 autumn-winter collection.
Since her debut in 2017, she has been reworking upcycled, unrestrained pieces. This season, twelve short videos show the teams’ work in locating, sorting, cutting and reconstructing raw materials with agility and precision. An exciting immersion in the craftsmanship of an independent house, which continues to attract a loyal clientele – the Lycra pieces decorated with the moon motif are a real commercial success. At the same time, seven short films show the everyday and family life of the models wearing the collection, walking in the fields, strolling through Paris or venturing to the coast. An authentic underground proposition. MG
The big school parade
This season it is a special parade that heralded the week of Parisian fashion. Registered for the first time on the official calendar of the Haute Couture and Fashion Federation, the French Institute of Fashion presented the collections of its “Master of Arts” students. 48 students, divided over the six sectors that make up the master’s degree – women’s fashion, men’s fashion, knitwear, shoes, leather goods and image – were able to demonstrate in a video how far their know-how reached.
“The idea came from Xavier Romatet, our general manager. Of course we would have preferred to do it in front of a real audience, but the students showed incredible creativity. These students returned to school in September 2019, so they experienced successive incarcerations and the restrictions associated with the pandemic. It was finally an opportunity to turn this situation into something motivating and positive’, explains Vanja Hedberg, who leads the women’s fashion course.
“Traditionally, the first day of the calendar is devoted to young creation. In this spirit, it seemed natural to us to open Paris Fashion Week with this collective parade of students. All of this is part of our global support plan for young designers,” said Pascal Morand, executive president of the Fédération de la haute couture et de la mode. In London, Central Saint Martins School, in partnership with Italian label Tod’s, unveiled the work of 35 of its students online on the first day of London Fashion Week. All this was part of the “Tod’s Academy” project, the Italian group that offers scholarships and mentoring to students of the school throughout the year. MG
Where is the Sonia Rykiel house?
Sonia Rykiel has left a unique fashion silhouette against a background of feminine emancipation, between comfortable knits, endless stripes and rhinestones. The striped brand and graphic silhouette of the designer (disappeared in 2016) are part of the French cultural heritage.
In recent years, however, between the waltz of artistic directors and financial difficulties, the label on the Boulevard Saint-Germain has struggled to find a second wind. She returned to the catwalks of this fashion week.
Sonia Rykiel in 8 dates
1968 Creation of the Sonia Rykiel house and opening of the rue de Grenelle boutique.
1978 Launch of the perfume Septième Sens. It was the beginning of the development of the brand with Sonia Rykiel Child (1983), the “Sonia By Sonia Rykiel” line (1989), men’s (1990) and accessories (1992).
1995 Nathalie Rykiel is appointed as General and Artistic Director.
2005-09 Gabrielle Greiss becomes creative director of women’s ready-to-wear. She is followed by April Crichton (2011-12), Geraldo da Conceicao (2012-14) and Julie de Libran (2014-19).
2012 Acquisition by Hong Kong group Fung Brands.
2016 The disappearance of Sonia Rykiel.
2019 Judicial liquidation.
2020 Eric and Michael Dayan, co-founders of Showroomprivé, are buying the brand, archives and licensing agreements. Presentation of the first collection since this acquisition at Paris Fashion Week in March.