Post-pandemic experimentation at Paris Fashion Week

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Paris (AFP)

Paris Fashion Week ends Tuesday after nine days of innovative experiments that showed how the industry is embracing technology and new approaches for a post-pandemic future.

While many fashion houses stuck to online presentations, big names like Dior, Balenciaga and Stella McCartney – even Yves Saint Laurent, who had been the first to leave live shows when the pandemic hit. – returned to the podium.

But the new twists often reflected lessons learned during closures and growing environmental concerns.

– What is real? –

Among the most inventive parades in years, Balenciaga has tricked its own guests into being part of the show.

Arrived via a red carpet, they were unaware that the official models were walking among them until a big screen relayed their entry and pointed out which outfits were part of the show.

Yves Saint Laurent opted for a traditional approach, returning to his preferred location facing the Eiffel Tower Christophe ARCHAMBAULT AFP

The line between guest and model disappeared when it emerged that some celebrities were on a secret modeling mission, including racing driver Lewis Hamilton and actress Isabelle Huppert.

The New York Times called it “a belly laugh at an experiment on … our digital lives, where posing has become the norm (and) voyeurism is a constant.”

– Immersive shows –

One of the benefits of online presentations in the age of the pandemic is that they have given viewers time to truly appreciate the clothes.

1960s styles and Dior sportswear influences reflect radical post-pandemic change for designer Maria Grazia Chiuri
1960s styles and Dior sportswear influences reflect radical post-pandemic change for designer Maria Grazia Chiuri Christophe ARCHAMBAULT AFP

Dior embraced this idea, using an elaborate game show-style rotating stage that allowed models and their outfits to be viewed from multiple angles.

Christian Louboutin, creator of the famous red-soled pumps, offered a totally immersive experience, immersing the audience in digital landscapes before presenting the shoes on catwalks, embellished with digital effects, while the dancers put them to the test. .

– Face to face –

Young French star Marine Serre, who has presented spectacular shows in the past, has chosen to stick with an online presentation this time around.

But she also screened the film in front of several hundred guests on a special night in Paris “to give it a little warmth and appreciation,” she said.

The clothes were on display for seeing and touching, while Serre herself was on hand to chat directly with the guests.

British veteran Paul Smith also took an intimate approach, inviting guests to his headquarters.

He commented on each outfit saying, “I think the way we did it today is right for the house. It’s nice to have a one-on-one.”

– Ethical concerns –

Although the fashion industry is often accused of having a meaningless attitude towards the environment, some designers insist that they are determined to make a real difference.

Stella McCartney presented the very first “Mylo” mushroom leather bag.

It was part of a collection that favored natural vibrations, even music inspired by mushrooms.

Hermès did not opt ​​for an ecological atmosphere, setting up its show in an airport hangar outside Paris
Hermès did not opt ​​for an ecological atmosphere, setting up its show in an airport hangar outside Paris Christophe ARCHAMBAULT AFP

Gabriella Hearst also highlighted her green credentials, claiming that 58% of her designs for Chloe were made from low impact materials.

And the Dutch label Botter used plastic waste collected from the sea for its aquatic-inspired collection.


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