Adapting to the ever-changing tides of the fashion industry, luxury brands were left with no choice but to seek different approaches to showcasing their latest collections.
Ever since the coronavirus pandemic has disrupted our social and economic order at lightning speed, many found themselves in the middle of nowhere. Countless major companies were clueless in piloting various schemes to keep their businesses afloat. In fact, the fashion industry was one of the many who experienced such adverse effects brought by COVID-19.
Now, luxury fashion has always been seen as a non-essential in times of a global economic depression. Come to think of it, do we see the middle-class lining up to get the latest It-bag at the moment? Not at all. The priority right now is food, shelter, and most importantly, health. Although this may be, fashion, being an industry of creativity and craft, has always made it a point to acclimate during a crisis.
As we navigate the so-called new norm, the future of the fashion calendar is up in the air. The quintessential planning of storied fashion brands for next season is no longer business as usual. They know for a fact that they need to utilize the many beneficial aspects of digitalization.
Given this immense pressure on the industry to survive, slowly and surely, heritage brands transitioned their physical shows into virtual executions. We’ve witnessed how some brands went back to its roots, some kept it concise yet witty, and others chose to celebrate its long storied history. All of which was broadcasted in the form of a digital fashion show wherein anyone in the whole wide world can participate and have a front-row seat wherever they may be, regardless of their timezone.
After all, while some people don’t see our industry as a necessity, we know deep in our hearts that fashion will continuously serve its most important responsibility in times of turmoil—none other than giving everyone a means of escapism, even for a short while. And honestly speaking, that’s exactly what they gave us.
Here are five of the best executions of digital fashion shows amongst all luxury brands.
Kicking-off the fashion calendar was none other than Balmain. The French label celebrated the end of Paris’ lockdown with Balmain Sur Seine—a digital fashion show and live music spectacle on a barge cruising the ever-iconic river. The fashion display, in vignettes rather than runway format, included archival couture pieces of the storied fashion house—from founder Pierre Balmain, Erik Mortesen, Oscar de la Renta, to Olivier Rousteing’s creations.
Evocative of the Théâtre de la Mode touring exhibition, where designers used dolls to showcase the savoire-faire of the European ateliers during the war, Maria Grazia Chiuri presented Dior‘s AW 2020-2021 haute couture collection in a form of an exclusive film. It delved into the world of enchantment where a cast of fantastical creatures wonderfully gave life to the miniature dream-inducing creations.
Even in the midst of a pandemic, it looks like Gucci never backs down on putting on a great show. Every year, the Gucci show is one of the most awaited, and this year wasn’t any different in anticipation. The luxury label showcased its latest collection titled, Epilogue, through a special 12-hour live stream. Its creative director Alessandro Michele described it as the “closing act of narration,” wherein it gave us another glimpse of into the backstage mechanics of runway presentations just like last season’s show.
As we’re already living in a fast-paced society and digitalization made our attention span even shorter, Versace understood that if they can’t do a 12-hour show, they have the power to keep their collection’s messaging concise yet witty. And that’s exactly what they did for its Pre-Fall 2020 short film titled, While The Cat’s Away, featuring a matron of the house away on business while her daughters wreaked mischief in the mansion.
If Dior revisited its dolls and miniature collection, Valentino did the opposite. The maison’s haute couture show brought out its giants in their epic gowns. The Performance: Of Grace and Light, a dialogue between Pierpaolo Piccioli and Nick Knight, impeccably fused a physical experience with virtual light projections giving the industry the best digital experience we’ve all been waiting for. After all, Valentino’s Pierpaolo Piccioli said it himself, “if you have to dream, dream big.”