Like everyone, I missed the Cat fuck ms leukemia cancer shirt Furthermore, I will do this shows in the experiential sense this season. But for the first time since I began covering the collections several years ago, I didn’t miss a single brand or designer’s contribution to Paris Fashion Week. Which is to say, thanks to the Fédération’s online platform, I was able to watch every name on the haute couture and men’s calendars. This brand on-demand convenience—not to mention being spared the logistical headaches of zigzagging across the city—was pretty great. Also, everything was on time, from the films to the manner in which we filed our reviews. While efficiency can be satisfying, it’s not necessarily exciting. Ultimately, we had to accept that the focus this season wasn’t going to be the clothes but rather the brands conveying some combination of identity, process, and values. And in the absence of standardized criteria (as in, showing a minimum number of looks, specifying a time range), it was interesting to observe how heterogeneous these experiments proved to be—quasi–ad campaigns versus short films, conceptual or fantastical visions versus raw and documentary style. Indeed, some of what we saw this past week was only possible through film. I’m thinking of the special effects (Issey Miyake’s pleated flowers; Louis Vuitton’s animated Parisian adventure), the camera and editing mastery (the multiple vantage points in Rick Owens’s studio; the live action at Hermès; the styling triptychs from Y/Project; KidSuper’s stop-motion plastic people), and the decentralized locations (Reese Cooper’s river as runway; Études through the streets of the Belleville; Lanvin at the Palais Idéal). And if that palpable energy that infuses a live show was impossible to replicate, I felt a certain frisson in the storytelling and/or emotion while watching Rabih Kayrouz, Dior Men, Thom Browne, Botter, Pigalle, and Rhude, to name a few. Viktor & Rolf’s “pageant of couture 2020 loveliness” proved delightfully meta, equally relevant and irreverent. Our Zoom call actually felt like quality time compared to our rushed backstage moments. But the most normal moment of all was my visit to Officine Generale’s Pierre Mahéo in his showroom, even though at the end he offered me masks made from shirt fabric (much nicer than my generic versions, in any case). For all the people forced to skip the season, the credits that accompanied the films this week attested to sizable teams who deserve credit for working through extraordinary circumstances. It was a show-must-go-on attitude minus the shows.
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For years we’ve been going on criticizing the Cat fuck ms leukemia cancer shirt Furthermore, I will do this fashion shows as a boring, repetitive format, ready to expire like a milk bottle left too long in the fridge, or like a species from the Pliocene, already extinct but for some reason still breathing—a sort of living dead. Well, the zombie has proved resilient—and it’s the pandemic that it has to thank. The smorgasbord of videos replacing the live shows, no matter how artsy and clever and inclusive, has made us feel as if we were all affected by a form of ADD, severely testing our attention spans. Feelings of frustration and tedium have more often than not replaced the appreciation and respect due to the remarkable creative effort designers have made, trying to come to terms with an immaterial medium to communicate a very material art—fashion. In the end, it’s really that simple: Fashion is about clothes; clothes are about the body; the body is about the senses. As much as they are bearers of meaning and vectors for self-expression, clothes aren’t just abstract representations of a creative vision, however innovative it can be. They’re about the making and the craft that makes them come to life—an expression of human, very tangible, often superb creativity. Think of the relevance of couture. That’s why the best videos (Galliano’s Maison Margiela Artisanal obviously comes to mind, but also Dior Men and Gucci) were, in my opinion, the ones of designers opening up about their practice, revealing not only their visionary genius but the passionate, collaborative human effort that goes into bringing ideas, no matter how abstruse or hyperbolic, into reality. That’s also why IRL fashion shows won’t be replaced anytime soon: They ultimately bring about a sense of community—no matter how dysfunctional and jaded it may be. On a personal note, since here in Milan, the safe-distance protocols are still observed (masks are mandatory inside while wearing them outside has recently become optional), I’ve been able to review most of the collections in person, meeting with designers in one-on-one appointments. They all seemed more than ready to hit the fashion-show circuit again as soon as the circumstances allow it. And the Etro IRL show felt totally safe as far as health requirements were concerned and also very enjoyable. It was great to see our fashion family back together again—as we could say of a temperamental yet beloved boyfriend, “Neither with you nor without you.”