Fashion watch: Paris Fashion Week shows off its cinematic prowess


  • Style
  • Saturday, 10 Oct 2020

Paris Fashion Week's Spring/Summer 2021 digital presentation had a cinematic quality to them. Roger Vivier's starred French film icon Isabelle Huppert. Photo: Roger Vivier

It was labelled as a hybrid fashion week, with only a handful of brands like Dior, Hermes, Louis Vuitton and Chanel organising physical runway events. Yet, Paris Fashion Week managed to somehow still impress with its digital showmanship.

Like Milan, the vast majority of Paris' Spring/Summer 2021 shows were virtual – something that has caused quite a bit of frustration among runway regulars.

Read more: Paris Fashion Week's runway regulars mourn the death of physical shows

The digital realm of the fashion week nonetheless, proved to be rather surreal. For a city that champions subtlety in fashion (Parisian chic is nothing if not nuanced), it really was something else.

While London went for entertainment value with video presentations reminiscent of television shows – from a documentary to a visual album and a reality show, Paris chose to celebrate cinematic splendour.

Read more: Fashion watch: When London Fashion Week makes for good television

From Marine Serre to Thom Browne, Roger Vivier and Vivienne Westwood, it was all about showmanship.

Well, if you can't offer the usual drama of a physical runway, then the digital showcase has to be different. And the ones we have in our roundup below are certainly something else.

Marine Serre

In a rather risque video (the full clip certainly is mind boggling), Marine Serre tells the story of a dystopian universe. Her film was described as “an invitation to actively embrace all of life’s pleasures and adversities without judgement”.

Characters dressed in her Spring/Summer 2021 designs flitted from one scene to another. It views like an art film, combining both the Dune and Matrix worlds.

"With the aid of token items, two cryptic individuals navigate between parallel existences, living an astral projection, guided by each other’s truths," the label explains.

The clothes themselves were very utilitarian, ranging from skin-tight bodysuits to muted tailoring and athleticwear.

Vivienne Westwood

With her digital presentation, Vivienne Westwood brought the punk scene to the big screen – well, sort of. The video featured her unisex, English-tailored pieces on super 8mm film.

Against a background of alternative music, the Spring/Summer 2021 collection came to life in the form of behind-the-scenes footage of lookbook photoshoots.

Poetry by William Shakespeare, Li Ho, and even a piece by Westwood herself, could be heard as well, adding melodrama to the showcase.

Sustainability was the theme. All fabrics used in the collection are recycled, organic and FSC-certified.

Thom Browne

To present his collection, Thom Browne transported viewers to the 2132 Olympics, an event he imagines happening roughly 384,000 kilometres from Earth – on the moon.

Words will probably fail you, as the video is wacky to the point of being indescribable. Yet, it has a stange tranfixing element to it.

"I'm told that many of the athletes are adding velcro to the bottom of their shoes," quips the commentator in the video, one of the many non sequiturs.

Models were seen clad in all-white, including wide-brimmed hats and gold aviators. And yes, they were plenty of sportswear outfits showcased.

Roger Vivier

Without a runway, Roger Vivier turned to an interactive film to capture the attention of viewers. It stars French cinema icon Isabelle Huppert.

Across six virtual rooms or halls, each representing a different film genre (thriller, fantasy, crime, comedy, horror and animation), participants can control Huppert's actions.

From throwing and breaking cat statues to drinking poisons, the experience really is entertaining. Huppert's character even taunts you if you make the wrong decision or don't respond.

Think of this as the equivalence of Netflix's film Black Mirror: Bandersnatch.

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