Digital Fashion Weeks: Taking Stock, Dos … and Don’ts

After a 13-day marathon of parades and online events, the first exclusively digital season in the history of fashion – from French haute couture to Italian sportswear – the time has come to take stock. And assess what really worked … and the rest.

Photo: / Godfrey Deeny

Good news: we have identified several real fashion moments among these virtual presentations, but also many lessons to be learned in case this type of event should happen again. Obviously, for journalists, sitting at your desk in front of your computer screen rather makes you want to return to traditional formats. And it is not the images of Jacquemus’ last parade, organized in a gigantic wheat field in Val-d’Oise, which will deny this impression: the video of the show was a hit on the Internet, reminding the entire sector that the big fashion shows can sometimes turn into real sensory and spiritual experiences.

But if these two weeks of digital fashion ended in a heavy back pain for journalists, it is obvious that they allowed houses to appropriate tools that they did not dare to use in the past. There is no doubt, all of them will now exploit the digital possibilities revealed in July: whether to create a brand, prepare an advertising campaign, intrigue your audience, stimulate customer desire. or simply to create a real online showroom.

The marathon began in Paris on Sunday July 5, with a live, off-schedule video broadcast from behind the scenes of the men’s department of Hermès, and ended with Missoni in Milan on Friday July 17 in the afternoon. . To tell the truth, not quite, since Valentino is planning a half-live, half-pre-recorded event to take place in Rome tomorrow, and Christian Dior will present his Cruise collection on Thursday evening, in front of an intimate audience in the main square of Lecce. , in Puglia.

Who are the big winners and the big losers of the season? Which brands have stood out for their use of digital tools? Here are ten outstanding proposals, eight “dos” and two “not to do”.

Gucci Spring-Summer 2021

Best Live Video Broadcast – Gucci
This award goes unquestionably to Gucci. Alessandro Michele, in a clever reversal of the restrictions linked to the health crisis, has chosen to honor the members of his creative team, models for the day for the occasion. Unaccustomed to the spotlight, these models of a new genre transcend their inexperience with their self-confidence, attitude and innate sense of style. Broadcast live for nearly 12 hours, from the final preparations to the final salute, the event unveiled the iconoclastic imagination of Gucci’s artistic director – from the choice of its grandiose location, the legendary Palazzo Sacchetti, to retro-pop-effect graphics “MTV” which appeared on the screen, passing by the cast. Without forgetting the title, very well found: “The Final Act of a Fairy Tale” (“The Final Act of a fairy tale” in French).

Best pre-recorded video – Christian Dior
No doubt, this prize goes to the astonishing video of Matteo Garrone, The Dior Myth, tour to ancient ruins near Rome. If the Parisian house has come under strong criticism for the absence of color models in its short film, the fantasy of the nymphs discovering Dior’s Haute Couture dresses in miniature versions, carried in a trunk by two hotel doormen in Dior livery , makes him instantly enter the pantheon of surrealist cinema classics.

Best phygital presentation – Ermenegildo Zegna XXX
A very good example of the fusion between physical event and digital broadcasting. The parade staged by Alessandro Sartori reached its climax on the roof of the historic Zegna headquarters, overlooking the Italian Alps. When the art of the tailor is sublimated by a staging of first quality.

Best “Postal Presentations” – JW Anderson and Loewe
Jonathan Anderson has been very involved in the presentation files sent by the two brands he runs – his own and Loewe. For JW Anderson, a parcel wrapped in fabric footage, with pictures of the outfits, dried flowers and improbable fabric samples for the brand; for Loewe, a file of cutouts, inspiration boards, and even a 45 rpm vinyl. Two similar but distinct methods, both very effective in expressing your creative vision, and attracting audiences with an original collection.

Best video, independent brands category – Davi Paris
Not a lot of money but a lot of imagination for this clip shot on the edge of the cliff, which captures that feeling of freedom when you hang out with your young comrades in the early summer. French recklessness at its best.

Best Collection – Juun.J
For several seasons, Juun.J has been organizing incredible parades in Paris: we were therefore delighted to discover Seoulsoul, the moving black and white video shot in the capital of his country of origin. Juun.J, it’s like the ghost of Gianfranco Ferré meets Rick Owens. In short, the most creative designer in the most dynamic culture in Asia.

Best commentary on the zeitgeist – Versace
Donatella Versace invited British rapper AJ Tracey, who delivered a live performance of an unreleased track. A relevant and current commentary on the questions which agitate public opinion, foremost among which is the Black Lives Matter movement and the emancipation of minorities in general. And not to spoil anything, the clothes themselves were gorgeous.

Best Celebrations of Italian Craftsmanship – Santoni and Tod’s
The backbone of Italian creation is its remarkable craftsmen. Among the latter, few are those that journalists and personalities have the opportunity to meet in Milan or Rome. Some houses have chosen to shoot films in their region of origin to better express their DNA and what sets them apart. In particular two leading shoe brands, Santoni and Tod’s.

Sometimes it’s just refreshing to watch a well-edited, product-focused video where you can appreciate the innate quality of what is in front of you. Example: the master shoemaker Santoni, with an admirable clip entitled “Origini, An Emotional Narration” (“Origini, an emotional narrative” in French), shot in the proud region of Marche, on the edge of the Adriatic, in the middle of the Italian boot. An ideal decor to highlight the patina of a superb pair of crocodile moccasins or woven leather sneakers. The models wander on a rocky, almost lunar shore; then, while going up on the green valleys of the Apennines, the video presents us moccasins metallic gray or with the patina worthy of a glass of good local wine.

“I’m trying to make Tod’s DNA my own … I am inspired by the Jet Set of the 1970s”, explains Walter Chiapponi, the artistic director of the Italian house, walking through the all white buildings of the headquarters from Tod’s – from his design studio to the research department, including the workshop. A way to reveal the first steps of the creation process. From shoe shapes to inspirational boards, including sewing threads and the artisans themselves. And to the feet of the models.

Best Fashion Proposition – Plan C
From a strictly creative point of view, our favorite label is undoubtedly Plan C, its remarkable quilted dresses, its images of mountain cabins, electricity pylons, vertiginous peaks and overgrown meadows, abandoned by farmers. during confinement. Carolina Castiglioni, the creator of the brand, shot these images herself at the foot of the Alps.
“Every person is a landscape,” says the designer, who appears in her own video, and wears her collection – simple, sophisticated, often striped, summery picnic dresses, and a button-down funnel-neck trench coat, cut into a naive print. Another very beautiful collection, by the rising star of Milanese fashion.

Category “beauty is not everything” – Maison Margiela
Throughout the season, Maison Margiela presented a series of videos in saturated colors – most of them very sophisticated. But their pointillist and technical style didn’t make it possible to get a precise idea of ​​the clothes themselves, or even to understand what John Galliano was trying to express.

Maison Margiela, Artisanal Fall-Winter 2020-21 collection – YouTube

Laziest Contribution – Dries Van Noten
This award is expected to go to Dries Van Noten, whose video centered on a young boy playing imaginary drums in a minimalist, psychedelic setting was the epitome of creative laziness.



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