While the traditional parades have been cancelled, the haute couture fashion houses are redoubling their inventiveness to attract buyers and influencers through a screen.
No photographers, no scenery surreal, and no podium. This year, the must-see week of parisian fashion had to also adapt to the constraints related to the pandemic of sars coronavirus. From this Monday, it is on the Internet that the big fashion houses present their collections : the professionals of the sector, the potential clients and the well-known "guests of the first rank" - traditionally hand-picked - will be attending as well to the fashion shows by a screen.
A challenge for the creators, who could not strike a stroke this appointment indispensable for the image of their brand and the presentation of their new collections. And the artistic directors seem to be inspired : with well-known directors, scenography, set to the millimeter, virtual showrooms... While the industry has largely suffered from the restrictions associated with the confinement, all the details have been thought to compensate for the loss of parades called "classic".
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"To the houses represented, regardless of their size or age, there is this issue of the mixed creation and communication", highlights from The Express Pascal Morand, executive chairman of the Federation of Haute Couture and fashion (FHCM), which oversees this event digital. "We wanted to maintain the bulk, with a principle of international openness, community, and creativity", it was specified.
"fashion week, this is not a parade", decrypts Thomas Delattre, a professor at the Institute de la mode de Paris. "It is mainly a professional tool, commands that are in the show-rooms after the show, and everything they have around : those who come, what they wear, the way they communicate about the event... it All determines what we will remember from the collection", he recalls.
Dior has understood : without the possibility of a traditional parade, there was a need to find new ways to appeal to buyers. This Monday, at 14.30, customers and the simply curious have been able to find, in an interactive way, to discover the new collection from the prestigious fashion house. As all the trademarks registered by the FHCM, Dior was able to unveil its new collection in a video of approximately fifteen minutes, which is broadcast on a dedicated platform, open to the public. In a staging of the dream, signed Matteo Garrone (directors of Dogman and Gomorrah), a dozen of dresses are well filmed, worn by mannequins with the look of nymphs.
The day before, the house of French luxury Hermès presented its side of its men's collection, in an art performance filmed in real time, in which the viewer could see the designer Véronique Nichanian and the models, but also the cameramen, the devotion and fervour, and technicians. Filmed by the theatre director Cyril Teste, the performance has only 18 looks, against a quarantine of passages for a parade classic. "But the media impact is at least as important as the delivery creative. The fact that this presentation remains a phenomenon, an event in itself, it is important," says The Express Sophie Lemahieu, teacher and researcher in the field of fashion History at the École du Louvre.
For her, the marks must now show that they are able to adapt to all situations. By mixing the traditional codes and new technologies, "they manage to seduce their audience as usual, and talking about their shows on social networks". Despite a presentation of collections of digital, Dior was required to send "invitations, paper, graphic, perfect, personalities usually invited to the parade" illustrates the researcher. "Brands continue to mobilize these people who communicate for them, and that makes all the interest of the fashion week", she insists.
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A detail that should not be left to chance," adds Thomas Delattre. While the mere presentation of new pieces, through a parade, was still a few years ago the most important part of this appointment, "the dimension 'B to C' is now become a must," said he. "What makes this fashion week, these are the people who attend the parade, what they transcribe it on social networks, their analysis... It is necessary to compensate for all this, succeed to bring life to the parade".
"brands must show that they are still there"
The challenge is to size : to Sophie Lemahieu, the economic implications of the coronavirus for the haute couture fashion houses are not anecdotal. "Except for the cancellation of the parades, which allow to talk about the brand and boosting sales of fragrance, for example, all events in which haute couture is traditionally scope have been cancelled in recent months," she says. "Brands must show that they are still there, and that the public can trust them. They are sturdy, they prefer their know-how and highlight their artisans."
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in an attempt To "give life" to the parades unveiled virtually on the Internet, the brands are as well of creativity, and no longer hesitate to reveal the behind the scenes of their shows, the secrets of the manufacture of their parts or the interviews of their designers. "They no longer have the choice : after the confinement, we want transparency, be in the true. It is a good opportunity for brands to unveil all of it, and communicate via podcasts, interviews, and footage from backstage," says Thomas Delattre.
"We expects these brands to be the most creative"
In a artistic landscape of "atomized" by the outbreak of new brands, foreign creators and online sales, "we expect these great names, identified as being the most creative, being also the most original in their way of addressing their collections to consumers, to use the digital, to convey their creative vision", stresses the specialist. And this fashion week seems to be the best laboratory to experiment with these new tools. "Ideas abound, there are some things particularly interesting, and could even be included in a context outside Covid," says Sophie Lemahieu.
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points are provided towards the end of the shows called "classic" ? "No chance," replies the researcher in history of fashion. "As soon as they will be able to resume the shows, they will. The Internet might just become a complementary tool," she says, recalling the importance of the subject matter and the sensitivity of the garment. "I did not imagine that such know-how can be totally absorbed by a screen, or that the show is induced by a parade of a house of haute couture might disappear", underlines the expert.