Given the pandemic, a fashion show at home on Friday afternoon at week 152 of closure appears to be at the bottom of the priority list. Even as a fashion director, it meant taking a few minutes to watch a live stream, getting my daughter to take a nap, and walking to the computer just moments before the fashion unites amfAR Against COVID-19 runway show started run. Needless to say, I was sweating when I sat down to watch, but when I pressed the play button, I forgot all of it. It was like being transported to a runway show, in a room with other people who really love fashion. but it was so much better too.
Like many in the fashion industry, I've been looking for souls a lot lately. How and why is fashion important or even relevant right now? If you were to prepare for the show today, the thousands of commentators who respond in real time to the runway would be your first clue: they connect us. The virtual runway has become a very real way to grapple with the fashion world we love, and above all in a more reliable way than ever.
DIY hair and makeup, clothes from our own closets and hallways, and stairwells that became makeshift runways all reminded us that even the heavyweights of the fashion industry are at home like we are.
Although I've long loved the magic that comes with a runway show produced at Fashion Week, I don't know that any of us have an appetite for it right now. Sure, I dream of going to another Chanel show at the Grand Palais when it's all over, but if that had been offered online today, I might have switched it off. Instead, I got exactly what I needed through the open, human moments that models gave us straight from home. DIY hair and makeup, clothes from our own closets and hallways, and stairwells that became makeshift runways reminded us all that even the heavyweights of the fashion industry, like us at home, are experiencing the same thing and just trying to do it as well to work through as possible you can. In the absence of film teams and cloakrooms, this means that iPhones are supported to accommodate their catwalks and looks, which are half-styled but are fully representative of their individual style.
Maybe we didn't need a fashion show right now, but we need more of it: more ways to connect and elevate.
There were some high fashion moments, such as a mini dress on Natasha Poly covered with gold pallets, but the slimmed down moments were more fun. Carolyn Murphy went barefoot in high-waisted jeans and a t-shirt. Ashley Graham, who looked half dressed, danced in bra and biker shorts and later in her socks and a button-down, almost brought me to tears. It wasn't a particularly great outfit, but it was incredibly human – a new mother dancing in her socks at home and whatever she wanted to wear. I could tell.
Maybe we didn't need a fashion show right now, but we need more of it: more ways to connect and elevate. Perhaps fashion week and runway shows have done it in the past, and hopefully they'll do it again one day when fantasies about perfectly styled hair and a sleek, styled runway feel like the right kind of feed. At the moment I prefer the home video version with zero production value and infinitely more meaning.
Image source: Courtesy of CR Runway