A cancelled runway to first Twitch show, London Fashion Week's digital drama

  • Style
  • Tuesday, 22 Sep 2020

Burberry's partnership with streaming platform Twitch is regarded as a first for London Fashion Week. Photo: Bloomberg

London Fashion Week kicked off on Thursday last week (Sept 17) with a livestreamed show but without the hordes of industry insiders, A-listers and journalists who usually flock to it from around the world.

The twice-annual event aimed to be both more intimate and open, organisers said, with the Covid-19 pandemic resulting in only a handful of physical shows staged.

Around 80 designers presented their latest collections during the six days of showings, some in runway presentations but most via videos posted on the fashion week's official website.

Read more: London Fashion Week returning to physical shows in face of 'difficult times'

Among the designers daring to hold public parades – with plenty of social distancing – are London-based Turkish creator Bora Aksu, luxury knitwear pioneer Mark Fast and the Chinese brand Pronounce.

Their shows were broadcast live online,"an essential tool for our brand to express our seasonal message on a global scale," Fast told Vogue Business.

"An online streaming of a fashion show will reach tens of thousands on the day, and hundreds of thousands, if not more, throughout the season."

First on Twitch

Britain's Burberry started the week with an online show. For the Spring/Summer 2021 collection, Riccardo Tisci, its Italian designer, collaborated with the German artist Anne Imhof for a "radical meeting of fashion and art".

This uninhabited wilderness show was streamed live for the first time on Amazon-owned Twitch, a platform that popularised communal video gaming by including comments from players and spectators.

Read more: Young designers fill the void of missing heavyweights at New York Fashion Week

"Twitch unlocks an exciting new space where our Burberry community can be digitally transported to feel like they have a virtual seat at our live show," said Rod Manley, the company's chief marketing officer.

"It is an interactive experience where guests can connect with both our brand and each other whilst personalising their viewing journey," he added in a statement.

'Limitations can be liberating'

Other highlights of the week include the collections of former Spice Girl turned designer Victoria Beckham, London-based South Korean creator Eudon Choi and Briton Molly Goddard.

In normal times, fashion labels typically compete to stage their shows in the most extravagant settings, hoping to attract VIPs and influencers posting photos from the event.

But amid ongoing restrictions due to the virus, which has claimed more than 41,600 lives in Britain and where cases are climbing again, fashion has moved firmly to the internet.

Read more: Fashion in pictures: With or without runways, New York Fashion Week delivers

Beckham reportedly cancelled her planned “salon-style” runway show just a few days before London Fashion Week, saying that it "didn’t feel appropriate". She then presented her collection of 21 eclectic outfits via a video shot in the Victoria Miro gallery of contemporary art.

"Limitations can be liberating. Working remotely for this collection we reacted spontaneously. We were instinctive. We asked ourselves what has changed? Who do we want to be? What will we desire?" Beckham shared on Instagram.

"This collection is about freedom – to explore, to dress up, to be yourself. It is rooted in our true DNA, our language; strong tailoring, sharp colour, modernity. And dressing women."

Beckham posted a teaser of her collection before the reveal, which caused quite an uproar on Instagram. The model's bare breasts were shown in her video. Followers soon flooded the comment section, urging for the post to be taken down. –AFP

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