Some designers are choosing to take themselves out of Fashion Month as a result of COVID-19, while others are staying put.
Since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, the fashion industry has had to make some tough decisions. Government mandates to stay home and the shuttering of nonessential businesses so as to taper the spread of COVID-19 have seriously affected commerce, causing supply chain disruptions, massive layoffs, and plummeting stocks. Indeed, brands both big and small are experiencing a lack of resources and capabilities to conduct business as usual.
This has undoubtedly impacted the fashion calendar, particularly Fashion Month in September, which would normally showcase the Spring 2021 collections in the fashion capitals of New York, London, Milan, and Paris. Being unable to rent venues in advance, attract international press and buyers, and, more importantly, source and produce samples in time, many have already weighed their options, deciding to forgo presenting at their given Fashion Week. This has also led labels to assess the amount of collections they churn out in a given year, with many calling for a reconfiguring of the entire cycle.
Still, there are others that are sticking to the prescribed schedule. For one, the Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode, the governing body for the French fashion industry, issued a statement saying that Paris Fashion Week will take place from September 28 to October 6. And there are rumors that some of the leading houses intend to show within that time frame—while also following the recommendations of public authorities.
Either way, the Spring 2021 season will be unlike anything that the fashion industry has experienced before.
Ahead is a running list of what labels plan on doing for Fashion Month.
As the tentpole show at Paris Fashion Week, Chanel consistently brings the grandeur and glamour associated with the industry, staging spectacles at the Grand Palais. And for spring 2021, it will continue with business as usual. The storied maison is expected to be one of the first major labels to return to the catwalk on October 6. Additionally, Chanel will present its Métiers d’art collection on December 1 at Château de Chenonceau in Chenonceaux, France.
The American designer is moving his Spring 2021 presentation from September to sometime between mid-October and mid-November 2020. “I have for a long time thought that the fashion calendar needs to change,” he said in a statement. “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.”
In a Zoom video conference for a series called Global Conversations, Marc Jacobs shared his decision to halt production on his fall 2020 lineup and collection for the upcoming Fashion Week in September. “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,” he explained. “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. 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.”
Saint Laurent announced plans to forgo its ready-to-wear show at Paris Fashion Week for the upcoming spring 2021 season and said it will not follow the prescribed Fashion Week calendar for the rest of 2020. The French fashion brand, and subsidiary of luxury conglomerate Kering, points to the coronavirus as the underlying reason for this decision. “Conscious of the current circumstance and its waves of radical change, Saint Laurent has decided to take control of its pace and reshape its schedule,” the company said in a statement. “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.”
Dries Van Noten
The Belgian designer has opted to forgo presenting his collection in September. He also led a forum—which included Tory Burch, Carolina Herrera, and Nina Ricci—and penned an open letter asking the fashion industry to adjust the “seasonality and flow of both womenswear and menswear goods, starting with the Autumn/Winter 2020 season.”
With the recent appointment of its new creative director, Matthew M. Williams, the French label has decided to present its collection in October 2020.
Reputedly the the centerpiece of London Fashion Week, Burberry has opted to ditch a runway show for digital presentation, which will highlight the English label’s commitment to sustainability. “As humans, we have always had a deep affinity to nature,” said Riccardo Tisci, the brand’s creative director, in a statement. “We have had to respect and rely upon its power for our very existence, whilst marveling and reveling in its extraordinary beauty. Especially recently, we have all yearned to reconnect again and for this show, I wanted to celebrate these feelings by bringing our community together in a creative experience that takes place within the beautiful, natural landscape of Britain.”
Normally a fixture of New York Fashion Week, Gabriela Hearst is crossing the Atlantic for the Spring 2021 season. The move to Paris, according to the designer, is a way for her brand to bolster its international presence and circumvent operational issues that the Big Apple still has to flesh out. “When we started to asses with the team what the best course of action was to navigate the ever changing landscape as a result of the pandemic, we realized that for many reasons it became increasingly clear that we will have to present in Paris from an environmental perspective and from a logistics and transportation perspective,” she said in a statement. “But above all, it is always a dream for any designer to show inParis. This is the time for us to manifest this dream.”
Simon Porte Jacquemus is no stranger to shunning the status quo, presenting his shows two months before Fashion Month officially commences. And the French designer is sticking to this timeframe for the Spring 2021 season, setting July 16 as his show date. “I’m happy to announce and show our new collection, ‘L’amour,'” he said in a statement. “A year ago we decided to slow down our cycle by showing womenswear and menswear together in January and June. This allows us to reduce the number of shows, mutualize fabrics for menswear and womenswear, and slower the pace for my team and partners. More than a creative choice, it’s a sustainable model we believe in and that works for us.”