September 2020 Fashion Month looks quite different than it ever has before. While designers have struggled to keep their businesses afloat amid this global pandemic, many are also grappling with how to present their collections in a format that is cost-effective, creative, and — of course — socially-distanced.
With the coronavirus pandemic profoundly changing people's everyday lives the world over, designers are abandoning the traditional runway show format for safer alternatives. In London, Milan, and Paris, brands are drastically reducing the number of people present at their physical shows — or choosing to forgo them altogether.
Instead, designers are employing everything from virtual livestreams to flash mobs, socially-distanced outdoor runway shows, and video productions that feature their new apparel and accessories at the forefront — much like brands did at
New York Fashion Week.
London Fashion Week included a balanced mix of physical and digital shows, while Milan and Paris saw the majority of brands opting for in-person presentations, hosting a smaller crowd than usual. Fashion houses like Fendi and Prada in Milan, as well as Chanel and Dior in Paris, mostly
planned live shows.
Ahead, find out what exactly Fashion Month looks like for the Spring 2021 season. These are unprecedented times, but designers have proved how resilient and creative they can be.
technically the Chanel show adhered to socially-distant rules, and much of the crowd sat clad in a mask, it was quite a packed house at the Grand Palais for the French fashion house's Spring 2021 collection debut.
Models walked down a stark white runway, full of all the Chanel classics you have come to know and love: tweed suiting sets, subtle logo-printed chiffon gowns, and tiered ruffle dresses for day and night. Though much of the collection itself was black, white, and pale pink, some neon prints and bright red statement pieces were sprinkled into the mix.
Christian Louboutin Courtesy of Christian Louboutin
The French shoe designer opted for a totally virtual presentation this season, sharing his latest collection of footwear via the digital "Loubi World," in collaboration with the gaming app Zepto.
Within the game, there were activities, the chance to socialize, and — of course — explore the brand's newest flagship store in Paris within which users could style themselves in the newest shoes from the brand.
Dior LUCAS BARIOULET/AFP/Getty Images
Designer Maria Grazia Chiuri pared down her styles for this collection, catering to a home-centric life. She debuted looks that were crafted of easier silhouettes, more ethereal fabrics, and a subdued color palette.
The collection was shown in person in Paris, on a socially-distanced runway.
Balmain Victor VIRGILE/Gamma-Rapho/Getty Images
Though Balmain's show was in-person (and socially-distanced), it was also broadcast live with the help of LG.
Designer Olivier Rousteing showed neon suiting, bright blue denim, and strong shoulders (as is his signature) that created a sense of optimism in this very uneasy world.
Acne Studios Victor VIRGILE/Gamma-Rapho/Getty Images
Called a "collection about liberation, transformation and personal rebirth" in the brand's show notes, the collection was ethereal, light, slouchy, and filled with a wide range of pieces that take you from day to night.
The collection was presented in-person on a stark white runway, illuminated by pastel neon lights.
In one of the most creative productions of the pandemic, Jeremy Scott staged a classic salon style runway show with marionettes instead of models. Created by Jim Henson’s Creature Shop, the puppets were clothed in the new Spring collection, featuring corsetry, tulle skirts, and high-low gowns in muted colors.
The film even featured puppet versions of famous front-row mainstays like Anna dello Russo, Anna Wintour, and Edward Enninful.
Versace Handout/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
Versace made history by casting three plus-size models for its socially distanced runway show, a first for the designer. The collection itself was rife with bright colors and an under-the-sea motif that drew inspiration from Gianni Versace's Spring 1992 collection.
Miuccia Prada hired Raf Simons as a co-creative director In February, and the duo just released their first collection together, for Spring 2021. The show was live-streamed and photographed by a number of cameras that all hung from the ceiling, set in a butter yellow room that was carpeted in the same tone. And, as a first for the timeless classic fashion house, all of the models who debuted the collection were first-time runway walkers.
Fendi Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
Fendi's Spring 2021 show was presented in person in an intimate and socially-distanced manner. Guests were seated far from one another, amid a runway that was crafted of voluminous, yet ethereal, white panels that flowed with the breeze. The collection itself was just as light and airy, made of easy silhouettes in a palette of pale blue, white, and tan.
For the Spring 2021 season, the fashion house staged a presentation sans audience, with a runway show and performance streamed live on Twitch. Dancers executed their routine surrounded by a cloud of orange smoke while Eliza Douglas sangs and models took to the makeshift runway in the middle of an undisclosed forest.
The collection's "mermaid and shark" theme materialized in swirling blue patterns rendered on crisp white shirts, towering thigh-high boots, structured trench jackets, and lots of leather.
If it wasn’t for the utter lack of an audience, those looking at the images of Erdem’s Spring 2021 collection wouldn’t have known that it was staged amid a global pandemic. The collection had designer Erdem Moralioglu’s iconic romantic whimsicality, via puff sleeves, ethereal silhouettes, and — of course — allover florals. That said, the quiet Epping Forest, nearly 2500 acres of ancient woodland, north of London, meant that the only audience the models experienced were the trees.
Victoria Beckham Courtesy of Victoria Beckham
Only a few days before the start of London Fashion Week, Victoria Beckham canceled her initially-planned runway show. Although permitted under London guidelines, she noted that she didn’t think the showing would be appropriate, considering the state of the world right now.
Instead, industry insiders were invited in groups of three at a time to the Hoxton Art gallery location to view her presentation — and handed “VB” facemasks upon entry.
With the collection, she brought new life to the state of the world, with vibrant colors and easy silhouettes that have wearers looking towards happier days.
Emilia Wickstead Instagram.com/@emiliawickstead
Wickstead crafted the majority of her collection out of cotton, which was largely due to an inability to secure various fabrics during lockdown. What resulted, however, was a clean and crisp collection that felt exactly like what every woman is looking to wear in this new world she is navigating.
To present the collection, in lieu of a formal presentation, the designer commissioned documentary filmmaker Robin Mellor to shoot a short film that featured women of all ages, shapes, sizes, and races.