High fashion in Paris begins Monday, with more than a dozen live shows, pandemic or not

Paris couture, the pinnacle of fashion, kicks off the show season over the next four days on Monday morning, and despite the pandemic, there will be no shortage of live shows.

All told, at the time of writing, there will be 16 live runway shows. Seven other houses will host physical and video presentations by appointment on an appointment basis for editors and clients; and six more screens that will be fully digital.

Chanel – Fall-Winter2021 – Haute Couture – Paris – © PixelFormula

“Everybody loves to show off. That has never been clearer. There is no comparison between a reality show and a digital event. That is obvious to everyone, especially to those doing research work,” explains Ralph Toledano, president of the Federation Haute Couture et de la Mode, the organization that controls all runway seasons in Paris.

“You know, this season a lot of young designers are approaching the Federation. We have a lot of requests for places on our calendar. We are in a time when a lot of people want to innovate and try new ways of doing things, and high fashion is the ideal field. So there is a long-term movement to couture. Couture is first and foremost a laboratory, so discipline is ideal,” explains Toledano.

That said, the entrance to the haute couture calendar is up there with the passing of the needle eye. This season, the League accepts only one new entry on the official schedule – Yanina, which will end the season with a performance on Thursday night at the Russian Embassy.

“Being on the calendar of Paris haute couture means a lot, so we take a responsibility not to list anyone. So the houses that are accepted also have a duty to produce great fashions,” emphasized Toledano.

Due to the pandemic, recent ready-to-wear seasons have seen a drastic reduction in size, with social segregation strictly enforced; Buyers are limited and Asian editors and retailers are mostly absent. However, couture’s clientele is a rare class that includes the wives of billionaires and wealthy princesses, so expect to see a fleet of limousines outside of the big shows next week.

And even if fewer customers come to Paris, the big companies will travel their collections, and thanks to the internet, all the customers will see the products. What’s more, Hollywood stars are traditionally absent in January – too busy with awards season in the US.

Two of the most famous French haute couture houses, Christian Dior and Chanel, the two will hold two shows: Dior at the Rodin Museum and Chanel at their favorite venue, the Grand Palais.

Christian Dior – Fall-Winter 2021 – High Fashion – Paris – © PixelFormula

Furthermore, the season will include a host of popular brands including Schiaparelli, which is currently enjoying a strong revival of surrealism led by American creator Daniel Roseberry with a closed-door show. inside the Place Vendôme headquarters. Other important shows to watch are rocker Alexandre Vauthier’s couturier; conceptualists Viktor & Rolf; the Levant’s master builder, Elie Saab; and two Roman-based houses Valentine and Fendi.

Attention will also be on Jean Paul Gaultier, where Glenn Martens of Y/Project will become the second designer invited by the French designer to create the Gaultier couture collection. Last season, this new collaboration idea started with Chitose Abe by Sacai.

“The main goal is to have great performances. And we have a significant number of important bodybuilding catwalk shows,” noted the Federation president.

Paris has also introduced strict hygiene rules – from the vaccinations required to attend any concert, the mandatory PPF8 masks and social distancing, to the way brands shoot their videos.

Toledano is also careful to emphasize that the Federation expects couture houses to create high-quality collection videos. After some early blunders in videos showing at the start of the pandemic and some 30-second, one-shot fashion miniseries, the Federation has introduced stricter rules. With very specific instructions on video length and number of styles. Videos are at least 4 to 7 minutes long and 25 videos minimum.

The federation has apparently rejected the videos showcasing the current menswear season, preventing them from being shown on the much-watched international website, but Toledano declined to say who.

“Opinion fashion Week is getting better every season. That we insist on,” he concluded.

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