September–the most important month for the fashion industry—is here. Our calendars are full of parties and shows like always, but this time around, Fashion Week will be a bit different.
September means fashion, runway shows, parties, flights, and long sleepless nights. This month marks the start of Fashion Week or, as some like to call it, Fashion Month, a season in which editors, celebrities, and fashionistas travel to the four fashion capitals of the world to learn about the new trends for the upcoming season. From September to October, the best designers in the world present their collections in New York, London, Milan, and Paris. For a month, the entire fashion industry has its eyes on the runways, as they decide what everyone will be wearing next season.
But, everything changed 18 months ago. For the first time in history, in-person shows were canceled and Fashion Week, as we know it, changed forever. This was a historic moment, and established and emerging designers had to adapt and find a way to transmit and present their new collections digitally. During the Spring 21 and Fall 21 shows, creativity came to life, giving us impressive presentations in new ways, such as in short films, like the one from Saint Laurent. In addition to presenting beautiful garments, we got new experiences. Loewe did a “Show-on-the-Wall” (SS21) and “A Show in the News” (FW 21), and Valentino presented a collection at the completely empty Piccolo Teatro di Milano, giving one of the most impressive and emotional shows of the season.
In addition to these changes in presentation, several designers saw this period of chaos as the perfect opportunity to leave the traditional Fashion Week calendar and established seasons behind. For example, Ralph Lauren decided to present its collections in real time, meaning that the brand will present its Fall ‘21 collection in September instead of showing its Spring ‘22 line. In an Instagram post, Saint Laurent said “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,” thereby deviating from the traditional calendar and presenting its collections at different times. Also, Alessandro Michele, Creative Director of Gucci, confirmed that the Italian brand would not present collections during the months slated on the calendar –March for the autumn collections and September for the spring ones–and would also reduce its number of collections to 2 per year, instead of 4.
All these changes have made us wonder if the format of in-person shows is still relevant and functional. But if the fashion industry has something, it is strength in the face of adversity and adaptability. A few months ago, we saw a hybrid Haute Couture Fashion Week in Paris; some designers presented in person (with a smaller number of guests than usual) and other brands opted for a digital format. This showed us that the world is not yet ready to go completely digital, since we can’t enjoy the expertise behind these collections the same way from a distance.
Now, it’s the most anticipated time of the year—September—and we’re about to experience a Fashion Month like no other. New York Fashion Week is first on the agenda and promises to return stronger than ever. The schedule includes the return of designers Peter Dundas with his Dundas X Revolve collection, Jeremy Scott for Moschino, the Mulleavy sisters for Rodarte and Tom Ford. All these designers had been going to other locations in previous years but will now show their Spring 22 collections in NYC. This season, Thom Browne and Carolina Herrera will showcase their anniversary collections, which promise to be a celebration of the best of American fashion. NYFW is sure to be a feast for the eyes!
Paris also promises us a fashion renaissance. As of today, the La Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode calendar includes 92 designers, of which 71 will hold in-person shows: 37 runways and 32 other kinds of presentations. As part of the digital strategy, all in-person presentations will also be transmitted on the Paris Fashion Week virtual platform. And, despite the long list of designers slated to be present, some big names are notably missing: Celine, Alexander McQueen, Comme des Garçons, Paco Rabanne, and Sacai. The good news is that Balenciaga, Loewe, Valentino and Maison Margiela will return to Paris Fashion Week.
Both Fashion Weeks will not only have runways and in-person presentations but also digital ones, confirming that the hybrid system is here to stay. It allows guests who cannot travel to enjoy and participate in the events.
Due to the current public health situation in the world, Fashion Week events have implemented new safety measures for those attending events. In order to access any event, each guest must present proof of vaccination and/or a recent negative COVID test result. This a necessary measure against the spread of the new Delta variant.
Despite all the challenges that our “new normal” presents, the show must go on. Starting tomorrow, the eyes of the fashion world will all be focused on New York and the collections of some of the world’s most important designers.