The six-day French menswear catwalk season debuts on Tuesday, with a bumper crop of nearly 70 brands, albeit without a single runway show in Paris, due to stringent lockdown rules.
Reacting the strict no-live-events rules, the Federation de la Haute Couture et de la Mode (FHCM), French fashion’s governing body, has amped up its website, with a new editorial team of contributors and linkups with the US’ Cable News Network and Kommersant in Russia, FHCM told FashionNetwork.com. The FHCM’s video feed this season will also be available on four major Chinese platforms – Tencent, WeChat, Weibo and Douyin.
The link-up with CNN follows on from last season’s fresh partnership with the New York Times and Asahi Shimbun in Japan, which have both created dedicated pages to show the Paris runway and collection videos. All the brand displays are also available on YouTube.
Notwithstanding the global pandemic, a total of 68 brands have signed up for coveted slots on the official calendar. The season kicks off on Tuesday, Jan. 19 at 2 p.m. with master tailoring marque Berluti and ends on Sunday, Jan. 24 with fledgling house 1017 ALYX 9SM. The busy week also includes such major global brands as Louis Vuitton, Dior Men, Hermès and Paul Smith.
“I believe that the number and quality of the designers testify to the importance and strength of the Paris season, during a very difficult health crisis,” argued Pascal Morand, Executive President of the FHCM. Paris will also feature multiple influential designer brands like Yohji Yamamoto, JW Anderson, Rick Owens, Dries Van Noten, Vetements, Loewe, and Thom Browne. Along with up-and-comers Louis-Gabriel Nouchi; Kolor and Taakk, both of Japan; and Wales Bonner from the UK.
Together with such hot local names as Cool TM, which is planning an installation in storied passage Galerie Vivienne, and Casablanca, which will unspool a video inspired by an imaginary Formula One after-party in Monaco and shot inside the ultra-exclusive Traveller’s Club on the Champs Elysées.
However, in a late decision, Celine pulled out of the Paris season, informing FashionNetwork.com that it will present its collection “a little later” in 2021.
Underling the international magnate that Paris remains in la mode, the majority of houses showing are foreign-based, even if the season has lots of new French faces. A quartet of debutants is composed of Arturo Obegero, Basscoutur and Valette Studio, all from France; and Kidill from Japan. The Federation has also bumped up its website online magazine, renamed Insider, and brought on board a “team of curators,” including Amy Verner and Gianluca Cantaro.
“In my view, a collection video is an example of augmented creativity. Making them induces an additional time constraint, but they can add so much to a brand and a house’s image,” added Morand.
Like menswear, the haute couture season, which runs from Monday, Jan. 25 to Thursday, Jan. 28, will be an entirely digital season. Morand cautioned that, so far, the FHCM has made no decision on the exact format of the following season – women’s ready-to-wear, scheduled for March 1 to 9, 2021.
“That will be up to our executive committee to decide. But given the recent past, it’s understandable that we will all have to remain flexible. Whatever happens, in the future when we can again have physical shows, the Internet platform we have created will still be a very vital resource,” Morand concluded.