Paris Proudly Hosts its First Digital Fashion Week

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Paris Proudly Hosts its First Digital Fashion Week

The world around us is rapidly changing, and few industries have been spared. Fashion, it seems, is no exception. This summer, Paris is adjusting to its new pandemic circumstances along with the rest of the world. And one of the city’s most notorious and buzzed-about events, fashion week, has been scaled back as a result.

This July, Paris made necessary compromises and changes in order to be able to still showcase the works of French and international menswear designers. In a pared-down fashion week showing, fashion houses moved to digital, following in the footsteps of, well, just about everything (jobs, happy hours, dates, film festivals, DJ sets, etc.). With Zoom fatigue abound throughout the world (and, moreover, a very grim reality of the global health and economic crisis) fashion feels equal parts frivolous and completely necessary – an artful, visually pleasing balm to an oppressively harsh time. But fashion’s frivolity and whimsy and sense of fun are all part of its ever-present appeal.

 

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@victoriatomasofficial showed its FW2020/2021 yesterday on #ParisFashionWeek schedule ! #pfw ☂️

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Last autumn, in 2019, spring and summer 2020 looks were showcased on catwalks in Paris. I will hazard a guess that none of the shows last autumn featured face masks, the go-to ready-to-wear staple of the Spring/Summer 2020 season.

Here are a few highlights from the first Paris Digital Fashion Week:

Menswear designer Louis Gabriel Nouchi took an interesting approach to his show. Cognizant that so many actors and performers are out of work, Nouchi decided that, for his Spring/Summer 2021 collection (debuted via video), he would hire actors to wear his clothes while reading from The Stranger by Albert Camus. This innovative and can’t-tear-your-eyes-away approach can be seen on Nouchi’s Instagram page.

 

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Vogue reported some notable metrics on Nouchi’s efforts: “The video generated nearly 25,000 views on YouTube, and the brand gained more than 400 new followers on Instagram, a similar boost to the one received after a physical show.”

Louis Vuitton created a short film for its collection, “The Adventures of Zoooom with his friends by Virgil Abloh.” This trippy, fun, colorful 3-minute video is set to a foot-tapping beat and mixes reality with a fantasy world. A welcome escape, the video takes us through parts of Paris but with some unusual and amusing surprises along the way. Virgil Abloh, the American designer and DJ who founded the Off-White label, directed it. The video has been viewed on YouTube over 3 million times, and is definitely worth a watch.

Some opted for a less colorful, more serious approach. American designer Rick Owens said, in an interview with Institut Français de la Mode, of his own video presentation: “A flamboyant fashion show… is in bad taste.” Owens created a 12-minute “opus.” Shot in black and white, the Rick Owens Spring/Summer 2021 presentation via video shows models chatting as music plays, and wearing Owens’ designs. The mood is subdued and more neutral than Abloh’s upbeat video for Louis Vuitton.

Meanwhile, Dior created a film for their collection which was more celebratory; a celebration of African art. The 10-minute video has been hailed as “powerful and mesmerizing.”

Following the Paris digital fashion week success, Milan has opted to go digital this month, too. The times are dire, but fashion always finds a way to innovate and uplift.

Photo credit : Photo: Morning Brew, Unsplash

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Anne McCarthy is a contributing writer to BBC News, Teen Vogue, The Telegraph, Dance Magazine, and more. She has a Masters in Creative Writing from the University of Westminster and is the Editor in Chief of Fat Tire Tours’ travel blog. She lives in New York City.

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