Despite an anxiety-filled context, Paris definitively confirmed its’ status as a fashion capital with the holding of Fashion Week Spring-Summer 2021. The FHCM (Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode) has put all its’ resources at the service of the industry to support the event, diversifying its’ formats and multiplying its’ partnerships.
“The previous all-digital Fashion Week left us all orphans of a very lively form of the show”. The words of the fashion historian, Olivier Saillard, sum up the situation perfectly. The fashion show was 100% digital last spring, and it was certainly innovative but did not meet unanimous approval. Once again, we had to adapt to the economic situation, the absence of foreign buyers or journalists, and a reduced number of guests. However, some figures show that creative dynamism is needed… the opportunities created by each fashion week would generate nearly €2 billion in returns!
During this edition, 19 major luxury brands ventured the “real catwalks”. Dior, Balmain, Hermès, and Chanel (Saint Laurent was absent) thrilled a hand-picked audience, mostly French and masked, delighted with the return of the shows on the catwalks. The international public was satisfied with the live or streaming follow-up on the PFW dedicated platform.
Others had chosen to present the Spring-Summer 2021 collections in an exclusively digital format, resolved to respect the parenthesis imposed by the COVID-19 epidemic. There were no less than 45 digital events (Marine Serre, Margiela, Balenciaga), ranging from virtual fashion shows to video content (conferences, interviews, podcasts, or cultural visits).
A hybrid version was introduced in the calendar, combining private presentations and meetings with designers. By prior appointment only, the collections could be presented to journalists and buyers in showrooms reserved for the occasion, as the designers had chosen to control the number of visitors (Alexis Mabille, Alexandre Vauthier, Giambattista Valli).
YouTube, Google, Instagram, and Facebook were more than ever partners of all the events. The federation was particularly attentive to the influence of the labels on the Asian continent. The collaboration with Hylink (an independent digital communication agency in China) facilitated the diffusion of the PFW on Chinese social networks, while the Japanese daily The Asahi Shimbun relayed all the Parisian fashion news.
In the USA, Fashion Week was covered by the New York Times, the French partnerships largely contributed to a dynamic of innovation and expertise. In France, Fashion Week benefited from the support of the media (Canal + for “Paris Fashion”, RadioNova) as well as cultural institutions (Palais de Tokyo, Château de Versailles, Palais Galliera, and the MUCEM in Marseille). The Institut Français de la Mode collaborated in the publication of a magazine where the brands were able to offer additional content, while the new showroom “SPHERE” reinforced its policy of supporting emerging brands.
Despite the exceptional circumstances of the last few months, a lot of effort was made to ensure the survival of one of the French capital’s flagship events. A wager that was taken up with flying colors. This new fashion week perfectly confirms the adage: “Unity is strength “!