Editor, Vogue Australia
Back in February, as Milan found itself at the epicentre of the first major western outbreak of Covid-19, the city’s biannual women’s fashion week was coming to a close. While the virus had yet to be named a pandemic, many began recognising the existential threat it posed to Italy’s €65bn-plus fashion industry as buyers and editors, especially from the lucrative east-Asian market, steered clear. More interestingly, perhaps, was the rapid response to adjusting the format of the fashion show. While some chose to withdraw their collections altogether, others, most notably Giorgio Armani, opted to live-stream the show without a physical audience.
In the weeks that have followed, the situation has escalated so dramatically that shows planned many months down the line are now being cancelled or rescheduled. These include the theatrical spectacles of the annual cruise shows, where brands such as Chanel, Gucci and Louis Vuitton fly a small army of press and buyers to far-flung locations to show their clothes against breathtaking backdrops.
More importantly, for the ongoing survival of small businesses within the industry, is the announcement last week that both Paris Fashion Week Menswear and Paris Haute Couture Fashion Week, scheduled for June and July respectively, were cancelled, while Milan Fashion Week Men’s was to merge with the womenswear shows in September. While the two other major men’s fashion events this summer, London Fashion Week Men’s and the Pitti Immagine Uomo trade fair, are still planned to go ahead, it feels inevitable at this point that both will follow.
Click here to read Vogue Australia’s full article How Covid-19 is transforming fashion weeks around the world.