As the world continues to grapple with the effects of the pandemic and consider what life will look like post-coronavirus, the fashion industry has been forced to make some changes of its own. Department stores like Neiman Marcus and J. Crew have filed for bankruptcy, designers are halting production, and most notably, the fate of Fashion Week remains uncertain.
With men’s and Haute Couture Fashion Week being axed from the fashion calendar completely, the likelihood of social distancing orders lifting in time for September’s Spring 2021 presentations seems unlikely. Paris and Milan are already toying with digital shows, but each passing day brings news about further cancellations and postponements. The days of over-the-top runways, golden tickets to front-row seats, and antsy, overdressed crowds are coming to an end.
The question on everyone's mind isn't what we'll be wearing in the coming months, rather what the will the fashion calendar look like then? Ahead, a running list of designers who are ditching the tradition altogether.
On Monday, June 15, Michael Kors announced that he'll be pulling his namesake brand off the Fashion Week calendar for this September and will show at a later date sometime in 2021. Speaking to Vogue, the designer explained that he always believed the calendar needed a facelift. "It’s exciting for me to see the open dialogue within the fashion community about the calendar—from Giorgio Armani to Dries Van Noten to Gucci to YSL to major retailers around the globe—about ways in which we can slow down the process and improve the way we work. We’ve all had time to reflect and analyze things, and I think many agree that it’s time for a new approach for a new era," he said in a statement.
Rather than going digital, Armani announced that it will postpone its shows and will present its men's and women's collections in September, though the format it will follow was not revealed. The Armani Privé show will be postponed to January 2021 and be held in Milan at the Palazzo Orsini instead of Paris.
Since 2018, Alexander Wang has played by his own rules and previously announced that he'll be showing his collections in June and December. Wang didn't show in December last year but instead celebrated the brand's 15th anniversary in April, releasing the Alexander Wang Vault collection. The designer announced that 20 percent of proceeds from the collection will be donated to the WHO's COVID-19 Fund.
DISTANCE MAKES THE SQUAD GROW STRONGER - Social distancing is a must right now, but throughout we remain connected. As we celebrate 15 years together, we look back through the alexanderwang vault, a 72 hour online pop-up of archival pieces launching on April 6, with 20% of the net proceeds donated to the @UNFoundation’s #COVID19Fund for @WHO. Link in bio to learn more. - Collection 1 2020
A post shared by alexanderwang (@alexanderwangny) on Apr 3, 2020 at 11:28am PDT
During a Zoom webinar with Vogue's Anna Wintour and British Vogue's Edward Enninful, Marc Jacobs explained that he had to halt production on upcoming collections because most of his fabrics are imported from Italy. "To be honest, I don’t know what we’ll be doing or when we’ll be starting, but to design a collection I need my team. And my team needs to look at fabrics. And those fabrics come from Italy. And we travel, and there’s a lot of things that go on,” the designer explained. “Until we discover a new way to work—until we create a new way to work—or a new end goal to work towards, we really have nothing to do.”
While most brands have opted for digital shows, Pyer Moss's Kerby Jean-Raymond announced an alternative solution: drive-in movie premieres. At these premieres, Jean-Raymond will unveil his documentary American, Also, which chronicles the fashion week spectacle he presented for his spring 2020 collection. In tandem with the movie's release, Pyer Moss will debut special collections timed to the documentary, beginning with its debut in New York before he takes it on the road.
Alessandro Michele, creative director of Gucci, explained in a series of Instagram posts that he's ready to ditch the "worn-out ritual of seasonalities and shows to regain a new cadence." Gucci will still show twice a year, but won't be using the terms "cruise" and "pre-fall," as those categories do not stimulate creativity. The brand is set to make its return on July 17 at Milan Digital Fashion week to debut it's new collection titled Epilogue.
5/6 * @alessandro_michele announces a new beginning in ‘The Sacred Power of Producing Reverberations’ is his diary entry for May 3, 2020, shown here in Italian, to follow in English. “I will abandon the worn-out ritual of seasonalities and shows to regain a new cadence, closer to my expressive call. We will meet just twice a year, to share the chapters of a new story. Irregular, joyful and absolutely free chapters, which will be written blending rules and genres, feeding on new spaces, linguistic codes and communication platforms.” #AlessandroMichele Read his diary through link in bio.
A post shared by Gucci (@gucci) on May 23, 2020 at 11:00am PDT
In April, Saint Laurent announced that it will no longer follow the traditional two shows a year model and dropped out of the Paris Fashion Week circuit for the spring/summer 2021 as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The brand, helmed by creative director Anthony Vaccarello, will instead "take control of its pace and reshape its schedule."
"Now more than ever, the brand will lead its own rhythm, legitimating the value of time and connecting with people globally by getting closer to them in their own space and lives," the brand continued. In an interview with WWD, Vaccarello explained that the traditional fashion schedule was built years ago at a time completely different than the one we're living in now, and he's more focused on "the importance of our time."
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