MILAN — A few weeks after winning an Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series for “Euphoria,” Zendaya will be receiving the Visionary Award during the Green Carpet Fashion Awards on Oct. 10.
“Zendaya has long championed inclusivity and diversity, she is a real trailblazer,” enthused Livia Firth, founder of brand consultancy Eco-Age, during a virtual press conference held Wednesday to present the event. Last year, the award was given to Kering chairman and chief executive officer François-Henri Pinault.
Just as the speakers were connected to the press conference from around the world, the GCFAs will also be a virtual event, as reported, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and one that organizers Eco-Age and the Camera della Moda in partnership with the Italian government touted, emphasizing the power of holograms, augmented reality and special effects on the experience.
Firth was mum about the celebrities who will participate, although Iman, Julianne Moore and Robert Downey Jr. were confirmed. She tickled the curiosity of attendees to the conference by praising the technology employed, which will allow Zendaya and other guests to appear on the screen. Larry O’Reilly, chief executive officer of ARHT Media, which has worked on the video employing holographic telepresence, showed as an example how three people speaking from different continents could appear to be on the same stage. Likewise, Firth said she and Carlo Capasa, president of the Camera della Moda, were not filmed together, but they appear to be interacting in the video, which was completed on Tuesday.
La Scala theater, where the awards were held for the last three years at the tail end of Milan Fashion Week, was “transformed by technology,” marveled Capasa.
The film was directed by Grammy-nominated Giorgio Testi, who has worked with bands and artists from Oasis, Rolling Stones and The Killers to Sting, Amy Winehouse, Adele and Ellie Goulding, and the special effects and the augmented reality were provided by Northhouse Studio. “It was a real collaboration with wonderful [technology] giants; we filmed in four weeks what would have taken three months,” Firth said.
“The industry continues to give a positive message of resilience. This is how we live now and we have to respond to it, we have to rethink and reimagine the future,” Capasa told WWD in a separate interview. “We all miss eye contact and embracing one another, but we just can’t do this now.” For this reason, the event, always a glitzy affair in Milan, will have a “different tone of voice, with poetic moments,” he added. It is also grounded in reality, though, highlighting Italy’s craftsmanship and efforts to be more sustainable.
Emphasizing the relevance of the industry for the country, Italy’s Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte will give a speech at the event for the first time, highlighting the country’s craftsmanship, as will the mayor of Milan, Beppe Sala.
“We want this to be a message of positivity, just like Milan Fashion Week was. Its shows were watched by 40 million people around the world,” continued Capasa. Industry sales are expected to decrease 30 percent this year, hit by the effects of the pandemic, he noted.
Carlo Maria Ferro, president of the Italian Trade Agency, which supports the GCFAs, underscored how fashion is “essential” to Italy, representing 12 percent of total exports.
Firth also said the event “could not transcend” from the current events, the pandemic, the fires, the social movements, including Black Lives Matter. “We wanted the awards to speak about values.”
Addressing sustainability, Andrew Morgan, director of “The True Cost” and coauthor of the GCFAs film, said “we have gone from being bystanders to being actively engaged.” Because the system “is just not working,” he feels there is no longer even the need to convince people about sustainability. “Creativity is the way out,” he said, adding that nothing that worked yesterday can still work today. “This is a platform to broadcast change, to create real lasting change,” and not only to address problems.
This year, the GCFAs will be broadcast by Sky on Oct. 10. The awards will be shown across all the broadcaster’s European territories, as well as with other partners in the U.S. and Asia, including a global premiere on YouTube. A special world premiere during Shanghai Fashion Week will be held on the same day in a partnership with the Chinese experiential marketing company APAX Group.
Downey will host the 2020 edition of the awards ceremony, which will be broadcast globally on the YouTube channel of the Fashion Channel on Oct. 10, with the U.K., Italy, Germany and Austria on Oct. 25, following the Sky premiere in those territories.
Downey is the founder of FootPrint Coalition, an initiative to use AI technology against pollution, and which is mission-aligned with the awards.