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October 2020: the "ghost" fashion month

It's there but you can't see it

October 2020: the ghost fashion month It's there but you can't see it

Fashion week is not only a cultural and commercial institution of the fashion world, but responds to logistical and organizational needs. Bringing together all the shows of the main fashion brands under the banner of a single event responds to a practical need. But when, as this year has happened, many of the fashion events and fashion shows exist only in digital form, this principle of practicality falls and everyone dances to the rhythm of their own music. During this month of October there were in fact many high-profile events: the video shows for Celine's SS21 collection, Maison Margiela, Lanvin and Balmain, Raf Simons' womenswear debut, Comme des Garçons mini-show in Tokyo, the releases of Dior Homme's 2021 Resort lookbook, Givenchy's SS21 and Dries Van Noten, Craig Green, LacosteMiu Miu, Ambush and Thom Browne's lookbooks. At the end of September, however, the collections of Undercover, Marine Serre and Heron Preston had arrived in scattered order, while next November it will be gucci's turn with its SS21 collection.  

Almost all of these shows would normally take place during Paris Fashion Week. But they actually expanded throughout the month, with a large number of industry big players (including LVMH'S brands) happy to abandon their usual schedules. The most direct commercial consequence of this "ghost" fashion month is surely for buyers, who will presumably be forced to place their orders following the uneven pace of presentations instead of concentrating them all in a single week. But the real consequence is for brands: already two years ago Alexander Wang had recorded a huge media impact when he decided to give himself to independent shows and, today, the dynamics of the presentations, in his disorganization, showed how the digital show unrelated to the official calendar can give individual brands much more media relevance as well as eliminate the climate of competition that dominates in the very close sequel to classic fashion week shows.

Regardless, the seasonality of fashion (before the proliferation of capsule collections and pre-collections) was born with the aim of creating an order. If the current situation were to re-propose itself, however, and the "container" of fashion week were to disintegrate, it would fall precisely into the problem that was wanted to avoid: the overcrowding of shows that try to overcome each other in spectacularity, unrelated to a location therefore also scattered around the world and during the year as in an eternal Resort season. And if in Milan you still try to cling to a semblance of order, Paris and London already lose pieces and New York is moribund. 

The cultural cohesion of fashion week, in short, can exist only in the presence of physical events, it also acts a kind of anchor, which contextualizes the fashion show and brings all the brands together in the same cultural habitat. In the freedom of digital, everyone works alone. If tomorrow it were the phygital format that prevailed, with physical catwalks taken from the cameras, nothing would distinguish the classic fashion show from a normal video catalog, depriving the very concept of show of relevance, net of production values. It remains only to be seen, depending on the course of the pandemic, whether the number of these "ghost" fashion months will increase, whether these will ever materialize in an organization in their own right or whether, after this short interlude of semi-anarchy, they will be absorbed by the usual calendar.