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A line-up of the most memorable and forgettable events from Paris Digital Fashion Week

Some designers handled the challenge of creating presentations post lockdown with ease , while it was more evident that others struggled

A line-up of the most memorable and forgettable events from Paris Digital Fashion Week Some designers handled the challenge of creating presentations post lockdown with ease , while it was more evident that others struggled

Last week Parisian fashion houses were put to the test as they were the second city following London scheduled to take part in their first ever digital fashion week. As the coronavirus restrictions prevented anyone from having a traditional physical show, designers were challenged to come up with digital  ideas and concepts that would reach and captivate an audience as large as an actual physical show.

Digital fashion events are a complicated project , one has to create a production interesting enough so as to not bore their viewers, while making sure that the centre of attention is still on the clothes which they are trying to sell. Of course, under the circumstances, one can only imagine that this must have been difficult for everyone to achieve . However Paris being the home of some of the most innovative and interesting minds, the expectation for what they would produce was fairly high. The houses that chose to participate in Paris left us with mixed feelings , some being presentations were underwhelming while others were just right. Here’s a scaled round up of the most memorable and forgettable presentations from Paris Men’s Digital Fashion Week. 

1. Dior Mens SS21 - Portrait of An Artist 

This season designer Kim Jones created a collection with the narrative centred around the work of Ghanian artist Amoako Boafo. The collection which debuted yesterday was presented on Dior’s site in a 10 minute video entitled "Portrait of An Artist" that captures Boafo in his studio in Paris with friends as he takes us through his process in conversation about how he incorporates fashion into his paintings and how Dior will incorporate attributes of his painting into their clothing. Not long after , creative director Kim Jones also makes an appearance discussing the background details of the collaboration and how it came to life. In between frames, we are treated with moving images  of the collection modelled by a cast of all black models. The video presentation is one that feels pure, the music, the imagery and the styling is creates a sort of poetry that resembles a documentary and stays true to the style of Kim Jones while still having the impact of something new . The grandeur of the label’s prestige does not overshadow the artist, but rather gives him the stage to tell his story from his perspective. 

2. Issey Miyake Mens' SS21 -  Meet Your New Self

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HOMME PLISSÉ ISSEY MIYAKE premiered its SPRING SUMMER 2021 collection video online on Friday, July 10th. The video titled Meet Your New Self, namesake of the collection, is creative director Yusuke Kobayashi's take on people discovering their new selves, featuring the idea behind the collection: looking forward to the future and living through the life in transition. HOMME PLISSÉ ISSEY MIYAKEは、7月10日(金)に2021年春夏コレクションをオンライン形式で発表しました。 コレクションテーマ「Meet Your New Self」と題された本映像は、クリエイティブディレクター小林祐介氏監修による「新たな自分に出会う」ストーリーが描かれています。 未来に向けた希望を服に乗せて、移り変わる日々を駆け抜ける想いを込めたコレクションです。

A post shared by HOMME PLISSÉ ISSEY MIYAKE (@hommeplisse_isseymiyake) on

In a time of a darkness and obscurity, for SS21 Issey Miyake offered some light hearted humour. In a 10 minute video titled “Meet Your New Self” (which is also the name of the collection) creative director Yusuke Kobayashi captures a cast of 3 models/dancers in what he describes as “discovering their new selves”. Each talent is seen in multiple different looks from the collection dancing and reacting to each time they happen to miraculously change clothes. In the end, they’re seen dancing to choreographed movement together , after which, what seems like the Issey Miyake team is captured in their different locations dancing to their own music. A part from the colourful, precisely cut collection, the video in itself is not only well directed but also refreshing and a much needed dosage of joy . It’s  is a video one can always reflect on when feeling down, even when it gets out of season. 

3. Hermes Mens' SS21  - Hors Champ

A few days ago Hermes presented their SS21 Men’s collection in a video entitled “Hors-Champ” or “Off-Screen” when translated. The video was a recreation of an entire backstage setting for a traditional fashion show where models, dressers and production  were captured throughout the process. It started from getting dressed, to the talents  relaxing while listening to music, to production screaming “two minutes!” , to photographers shooting the look book down to the final minute when the director screamed cut. It was a near accurate replica of what goes on behind the scenes minus the actual runway show and its chaotic issues like having models change several times. This concept was a clever rendition that helped the house show off all the clothes from the collection while keeping the attention of its viewers at the same time. 

4. Sean Suen Men's SS21  - Dionysian

‘Dionysian’ is the title of Sean Suen’s conceptual 4-minute SS21 video presentation. Throughout the video , the designer works through an ideology of  humans destroying the concept of individuality and returning to a state of nature “where souls wander in a state of oblivion disconnected from the self.” The video is cut into three mini chapters where talents partake in a dark process of self discovery through the process of dance and movement. At the end of the short film, there’s a reel of polaroid edited with the same theme which gives a better glimpse at the entire collection. The presentation was well shot and also held an interesting storyline. It was a video that one might be inclined to watch if it were ever turned into a movie. 

5. Etudes Mens' SS21 - Yes Future

Etudes presented their SS21 collection under the theme “Yes Future” in an 11-minute video shot on the outskirts of Paris. Although the video missed somewhat of a concrete storyline, as it featured a cast of models walking around aimlessly, with the music it created somewhat of a narrative as it gave insight into the poetic realities of the city. The way in which each model was styled was as if they all were natives of the town which gave a feeling as if the audience was being offered a look inside their separate yet indirectly connected worlds. 

6. JW Anderson SS21 & RSS21 - Photo book 

Instead of a video as the main presentation for his SS21 Men’s and Resort 21 collections this season , creative director Jonathan Anderson resorted to a more tangible old-fashion solution by creating and mailing a photo-book. Each part of the photo book had an interesting story , from the outside which was wrapped in screen printed leftover fabric to the inside that included fun bits such as a mask, swatches of fabric and a photographic presentation of each look that was printed in a different way. The photo book had several different features that were all capable for collection. On the brand’s YouTube channel , he then takes us through the entire photo book as well as each part of the collection. 

7. Loewe Men's SS21 - A Show In A Box

On a similar note this season creative director Jonathan Anderson kept his consistency with communicating through the tangible by presenting and mailing “A Show in A Box” for Loewe’s Men’s SS21 collection. The box contained a book with pop up imagery, as well as several miniature versions of looks and accessories from the collection dressed on 3D dolls. The elegant box was accompanied by a YouTube video of the designer talking his audience through the collection and the inspiration behind each piece presented in the box. Anderson was one of the only creative directors of the season who decided to use tangible items to accompany the digital which made the presentation feel very special while at the same time somewhat exclusive. 

8. Casablanca Men's SS21 - After The Rain Comes The Rainbow

One of the house’s that made social media headlines last week was Casablanca. Their SS21 men’s collection was unveiled through video entitled "After The Rain Comes The Rainbow" and although there was nothing really special about the way the video was shot or directed, the collection and casting was really strong. It challenged traditional notions of masculinity by offering up men in pearls, soft colours and non-binary silhouettes. 

9. Louis Vuitton Men's SS21 - The Adventures of Zoooom with Friends

Although many eagerly awaited what one of the designers of the moment Virgil Abloh would have presented for LV SS21, this time around, all he had to offer was cartoons. The actual collection is set to be presented in Shanghai on August 6th. In the mean time, the designer presented a prelude in a video entitled “The Adventures of Zoooom with Friends.” The animated film that starts at Louis Vuitton’s ancestral home in Asnières was a fun expression of a rock and roll idealogy of LV as the characters were shown packing up and leaving Paris. However seeing that it is Digital Fashion Week , it would have been nice to see more clothes. In an interview with WWD , Abloh describes this new show format to be shown in Shanghai as “one of his biggest projects yet” , so that definitely gives us some hope for the future. 

10. Balenciaga SS21  - Instastories

Balenciaga non faceva parte del calendario ufficiale di Whispers of Paris, ma hanno comunque presentato una collezione, rivelata attraverso le proprie storie Instagram con i look presentati nello stile dei siti e-commerce. È stato un approccio deludente, non solo perché gli abiti e lo styling non erano all’altezza, ma anche perché Demna Gvasalia è uno dei creative director più tecnologici sulla piazza: i suoi show sono spesso pieni di effetti video, proiezioni e light design intricati. Ma per questa stagione il creative director non è stato in grado di sforzarsi a creare un contenuto digitale che ne fosse all’altezza.

11. Rick Owens SS21 - Phlegeton

Designer Rick Owens presented his SS21 collection in an 11-minute live stream featuring model Tyrone Dylan Susman. The black and white video showed Rick styling Susman into different looks from the collection which was a rather boring viewing for the audience. We are all aware that Rick is rather one of the more old-school designers ,but a little more of his rock and roll aesthetic brought out through the video would have worked perfectly to capture his audience’s attention.

12. Y/PROJECT Men's SS21 

This season, as always Y/Project’s SS21 collection featured interesting and innovative outfits. The way in which they were presented however was a huge bore. The 10 minute video (with no sound) featured a cast of 3 models being changed into different looks by dressers. There was no story or point in the video other than to showcase the clothes which makes one want to switch to something else after two minutes of watching.