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Undeterred by the rise of Omicron, Paris Fashion Week will return as a physical event in its own right, a sign that the changes to fashion week in response to Covid-19 were largely temporary.
Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Dior, Saint Laurent, Balenciaga, Off-White, Stella McCartney, Miu Miu, Chloé, Givenchy, Valentino, Balmain, Vivienne Westwood and The Row are among the 45 houses that will host an in-person show during the event , which runs from February 28 to March 8, the French Federation announced on Monday. One change that has held since Covid-19 is a wider adoption of live streaming: all of the above will also have live streaming components. This season, 95 houses are listed on the official calendar. In addition to the 45 physical shows, there will be 37 physical presentations and 13 digital-only events. “The formats will depend on the evolution of the health situation and the measures taken by the public authorities”, specifies the Federation of Haute Couture and Fashion in a press release.
The season will see some notable comebacks and debuts. This will be Off-White’s first show since the death of the brand’s founder, Virgil Abloh, last November. The Row, the label of Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen founded in 2006, will be released on March 2 at 11:30 a.m. local time. The brand was last presented in Paris in 2016 during the spring/summer season in a castle outside the city. Vtmnts, a Vetements spin-off brand launched in 2021, will premiere with Guram Gvasalia as creative director. Balenciaga will return to the more traditional runway format. Last season, her show consisted of two parts: a show turned red carpet and a short film in collaboration with The Simpsons.
The pandemic has forced the industry to reconsider the fashion show formula, with some brands abandoning and others staging digital shows, presentations and ready-to-go formulas. This season suggests, despite some live-streaming opportunities to reach more consumers, most are back to actual events in official calendars, although LVMH-owned Celine is a notable exception with Hedi Slimane’s collection. always outside the Parisian calendar. January men’s week was under control, but couture week was full of physical shows, and with the health situation improving (new daily Covid-19 cases were around 155,439 on February 6, compared to more than 500,000 at the end of January), the Federation is betting that demand is back. Chinese shoppers and press will still be absent, held back by Covid travel restrictions, but Americans are traveling again. “It shows the power of physical shows: we learned how digital enhances the physical. Only digital has less impact,” says PR guru Lucien Pagès. “We are hoping for a return to some normality, like during fashion week last September before Omicron arrived. In fact, we are also working on many possible projects for cocktails and maybe evenings in according to health rules.
In New York, physical parades, presentations and appointments are back for those who choose to parade. Coach, Tory Burch, Gabriella Hearst, and Khaite are hosting physical shows, while Michael Kors is hosting an in-person show and also streaming it live. Tom Ford is absent, as well as Marc Jacobs. In London, brands are also largely returning to physical fashion shows, with brands like Simone Rocha and Ahluwalia offering a runway collection and simultaneous digital offering, while a handful are sticking to digital like Emilia Wickstead and Di Petsa. Burberry and Victoria Beckham will however be absent. The Milan Fashion Week schedule includes shows from Bottega Veneta, Fendi, Dolce & Gabbana, Versace and Prada.
Clarification: Updates fourth paragraph to include Celine as a notable exception in the Paris Fashion Week schedule. (February 8)