Things really are getting a bit desperate at Paris Fashion Week. First there are the WhatsApp messages and emails from brands that don’t normally bother because they’re busy seeing retailers, begging you to drop by their showrooms, “because there are so few journalists in town this week and we’d like to show you the collection”. Each hour, there are new rumours of press and buying teams being recalled to their mothership offices because of fears about Coronavirus.
Italian Vogue, being based in Milan, never made it to Paris. However, the Brits are here. And American Vogue’s Anna (British Born) Wintour is too, displaying valiant Dunkirk spirit. “And if Anna’s here, the rest of us feel we can’t slink back home,” a journalist at another US publication told me mournfully.
Then there are the empty seats. At Demna Gvasalia’s show for Balenciaga’s, in an auditorium in bleak suburb on the western ring of the city, the entire three front rows were vacant. To be fair, this was part of the mise-en-scene and the rows had been left deliberately empty. We were in a flood situation: so dark that I had to use the torch on my phone to find where I was sitting. The vast catwalk area had been filled with dank looking water that almost submerged the front three rows of institutionalised plastic seating and lapped towards the audience’s feet. On the ceiling a projection of increasingly end-of-days skies increased the sense of jollity.
As a statement about the weather in Ironbridge, or indeed Paris, it was pretty on the money. But it also seemed up the pessimistic mood in the industry as fashion month grinds towards its close on Tuesday night.
2020欧洲杯足球即时比分It is not pretty out there. Cancelled shows, cancelled manufacturing (“Thank God, we don’t make our product in China” has become a new statement of one-upmanship – although not if the brand uses Italian factories.)
But back to the flood scenario: Alexander McQueen used a similar watery stage set years ago, but apocalyptic rainfall always delivers a strong atmosphere. The clothes were appropriately apocalyptic. Storm trooper shoulders, all enveloping rubber capes, encased leather suits that looked like modern armour and neck to toe shrouds. There were sulphuric streaks of yellow, woven into leaf print belted dresses, and flashes of fuchsia (as elsewhere) in the form of beautifully draped high neck blouses. But in the main, black was the new black. In the Greta Thunberg sombreness it seemed almost inappropriate to note that some of this was rather beautiful, and all of it finely wrought.
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