Paris Fashion Week, considered to be the world's most important fashion event, is going ahead, after months of uncertainty swamping the industry amid the coronavirus pandemic.
In a recent announcement by the governing body, the Federation de la Haute Couture et de la Mode, organisers said the event will commence on Monday, September 28, potentially with a mix of digital and "live" shows. This makes Paris the first – and so far only – major fashion week to confirm its schedule for the showing of next spring's collections.
This comes as welcome news to many, after the upheaval triggered by the coronavirus shutdowns. During the confinement (as it was known in France), French brand Saint Laurent announced it would be pulling out of the Paris calendar, while in Italy, Gucci took a step away from the Milan schedule, declaring that from now on it would only show twice a year. Even the recent Cruise collection from Chanel was forced to abandon its original format and switch to solely digital.
Adapting to a rapidly changing new reality has meant that many brands have had little choice but to embrace the digital approach, including Burberry, which recently declared it would present its spring / summer 2021 collection outdoors – to possibly allow for social distancing – while also streaming it live on social media platforms. And earlier this week, Dior announced that its Cruise 2021 show, taking place on Wednesday, July 22, in Lecce, Italy, would be a digital-only event.
However, with such a rapidly shifting situation, not to mention the constant flux surrounding rules and regulations within each country, the reality for many brands will be deep uncertainty on what type of show it should be planning for September.
Commit to only digital and dismiss all hope of the all-important live-audience exposure? Or plan a live runway event and risk having it cancelled at short notice if the virus re-surfaces? With fashion shows staggeringly expensive to host, these will become evermore pressing questions, and ones that Paris certainly does not have the answer to yet. However, as a step towards the familiar, the announcement that Paris will once again be a city caught in the throws of fashion week – regardless of how the shows actually play out – is definitely something worth celebrating.