COVID-19 is still messing around with our lives and psyches. Not only have the latest fashion shows, including the usually much-anticipated Paris Couture Week, gone digital, but there are massive pulls within the industry calling for putting an end to the frantic pace with which the fashion industry operates. But what exactly does this spell out? Where is the fashion industry headed post COVID-19? Where we see a spirit of rebellion in places, we are shocked back to witness abundant surges of creativity in other areas. And despite all that there is a prevailing spirit of scaling down and returning to basics…
Dior’s couture show which showcased on Monday was very complicated to create, said Maria Grazia Chuiri, the massive force behind this iconic label. “From the start, it was clear that a real show would not happen. So we had to come up with something really dense and creative” Chuiri explained. She hired Matteo Garrone to create a surrealist movie entitled “Le Mythe Dior”, taking inspiration from Théâtre de la Mode, which in 1945, following the devastation of World War II, designers took to the Louvre to create a show for miniature dresses and accessories with such meticulous attention to detail that the show went on to tour the world and to raise funds for French war survivors.
Chiuri explained that this painstaking task gave them all such joy during the making of it, and it was a task undertaken during lockdown and worked in the houses of the workers and designers. Doll-sized clothes are usually irresistible so what if you’re dealing with Dior couture done in miniature. That should be an unparalleled experience undoubtedly.
Chanel on the other hand, went back to business with a collection of shot images that portrayed ‘quiet opulence’ that had none of the usual punk-haired, costume-jewelry bedazzled looks we got so used to. The only jewelry to see were those Byzantine-inspired pieces sewn unto black and white tweed jackets.
Yet, a major spirit of rebellion remains in the air which explains why Hermes decided to jump the gun on the men’s shows which should start on Thursday and to release their film on Sunday. The film which was shot by French theatre director Cyril Teste, featured the models along with the crew and the technicians all starring together in a documentary-style show where we see the designer adjusting a stripy blue jacket on one of the models and discussing the future of change.
When Gucci’s creator Alessandro Michele decides to go from five shows a year to a mere two and Saint Laurent is completely pulling out of women’s fashion week later this year, it gives us the slightest impression that things are …well ….breaking apart!! Saint Laurent’s designer has done what many wish to do but otherwise consider as taboo which is setting his own rhythm and pace. This has been a no-no in the fashion world. You all had to follow the sacred calendar or else you’re in the wrong industry. Well thank you COVID-19 for shaking things up a little.
Belgian king of prints; Dries Van Noten is leading another tug of war, and heading his own coalition that is made up of co-creators calling for simplifying the industry to make it “more environmentally and socially sustainable”.
To end on a note of further inspiration, we were delighted to see Petra make it as a runway albeit digitally as part of the Ralph & Russo couture show. Taking things a step further, the brand enlisted the help of guess what… an avatar named Hauli, which is Swahili for strength and power. “We wanted to do something that had never been done before to that level.” Ralph explained and the results were outstanding. In addition to Petra, they took us to Taj Mahal, and the Great Wall of China.
Whether this signifies the end of an era, or the beginning of something much bigger than we can imagine…. only time will tell. But the creativity and dedication in this industry show no signs of abating… COVID-19 or otherwise!