Performance used to be one of the biggest elements of Fashion Week. From the dramatics of Alexander McQueen’s “Highland Rape” of 1995 to Rick Owens Historically Black College step team (mixing military drills and cheerleading) for a spring/summer 2014 show; memorable designers come down to their acts. But with Covid-19 cases on the rise and quarantine trending worldwide, most designers moved to a virtual platform, or put this season on pause completely. With the economy failing it begs the question: Is this the last Fashion Week for the foreseeable future?
When Giorgio Armani, Saint Laurent, Alexander Wang, and a vast amount of other designers announced they were putting this season on hold it became clear how different this once stressful and exciting time would become. It’s no longer designers sewing together the last few threads before a model hits the catwalk, but a pre-recorded showing to enjoy in the comfort of your own home. Many designers were forced to forfeit this season altogether to hold onto some resources with their sales plummeting during the quarantine. However, it could be argued the new laws surrounding Covid-19 offers a new challenge on designers’ creativity to promote their product.
Fashion Week may not be following the general format of years prior, but that doesn’t mean the creativity is completely lost within these digital showings. For instance, Badgley Mischka was able to create a gorgeous film set in a flowery estate to classical piano music, while getting close-ups of each product the model wore. The movement of the product highlighted by the wind. Ulla Johnson offered the standard catwalk mixed with close-ups and special features of the proudest pieces. The clothing is highlighted almost more than it would’ve been seasons prior because there are very few distractions offered when the viewer is sitting on their couch instead of on the side of a catwalk in the best street style known to man. A new level of focus on the product can develop when peers of the fashion community aren’t competing for free promotion from street style photographers. This season may be more about the product than ever before because of the removal of most in-person shows. Covid-19 should not be viewed as a finale to Fashion Week forever, but an obstacle for creativity until in-person shows can safely resume.