The show must go on: How fashion shows have changed since the pandemic

Virtual fashion show.

If you’re a fashion lover and scrolled through your socials throughout the month of September, you would notice that it was fashion month yet again. Fashion month—which occurs in different fashion capitals around the world such as New York, London, Milan, and Paris—were plastered all over social media. Influencers, models, and other celebrities participated in the fashion shows virtually this year, while some attended events in person with masks and physical distancing restrictions in place. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has inevitably changed the world around us as we know it. The fashion industry, already known for its adaptability and ever-changing nature, has also made significant changes to adjust to the new norm. 

The show must indeed go on, but some may be left wondering: will this new approach to fashion shows be a positive change for creative directors or a challenge to overcome?

Milan Fashion Week: Moschino Spring-Summer 2021:

Jeremy Scott, the creative director of Moschino did not let the pandemic stop him from having his ideas run wild. Scott opted for a puppet runway show with marionettes of his models walking down the mini runway. Scott had to make smaller scale versions of his SS21 collection in order to fit the marionettes. 

The puppets were made by Jim Henson’s Creature Shop, known in Hollywood for their special effects work. To complete the show, the audience was also made up of marionettes of famous fashion journalists, and of course, Anna Wintour was seen sitting right in the front row as per usual.

“As the world seems to be splitting along the seams, the bare inner workings of something new will be exposed,” said Scott in a Moschino press release.

The Moschino Spring-Summer 2021.

Paris Fashion Week: Balmain Spring-Summer 2021:

Many have compared the Balmain Spring 2021 Ready-to-wear show to an episode of Black Mirror. The front row of the runway consisted of a bunch of screens with celebrities watching the show via a Zoom video call. A season one episode of Black Mirror,titled Fifteen Million Merits, features a scene where  in-person audiences no longer exists. Instead, a sea of screens with virtual audience members watching from home is the reality for this future dystopian world. 
Balmain creative director Oliver Rousteing said at the show, “Change happens. Advancements may require determined engagement, but progress is always possible.”

The Balmain Spring-Summer 2021 show.
Balmain Spring-Summer 2020. (Balmain)

New York Fashion Week: Christian Siriano Spring-Summer 2021

Designer Christian Siriano took his SS21 collection into his own hands by hosting the show in his very own backyard. Models wore masks that matched their outfits and all audience members were seated a part from each other outside in the grass with masks on. Siriano had all of his models walk around his lawn and walk over a bridge catwalk that was set up on top of his pool. The show ended with pregnant Canadian model, Coco Rocha walking into the pool wearing a dress that weighed 30-40 pounds. 

“Even at home, things can inspire us, and I hope this collection shows that fashion remains powerful despite the circumstances,” said Siriano at the show. 

The Christian Siriano Spring-Summer 2021.
Christian Siriano Spring-Summer 2021 (Simbarashe Cha The New York Times)