Relaying instructions from the city’s police authorities, French fashion’s organizing body said physical gatherings were prohibited as the country struggles to curb the coronavirus pandemic. France emerged from lockdown on Dec. 15, but restaurants, bars, cinemas, theaters and museums remain closed.
“The instructions from the Paris police headquarters stipulate that there should be no public attendance, whether it is for fashion shows or any other event,” Pascal Morand, executive president of the Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode, told WWD.
However, filming is authorized, meaning the handful of brands who planned to stage physical shows can either record or livestream their displays, he added. One-on-one meetings have also been green-lighted for those brands offering in-person showroom appointments, providing strict security guidelines are respected.
While a nightly curfew from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. remains in place in Paris, the French government recently tightened the rules for some other regions, with curfews beginning at 6 p.m., and has not ruled out additional measures.
That has created an unpredictable environment for men’s fashion week, which features a full slate of international designers over six days, according to the federation’s preliminary schedule. The calendar runs from Jan. 19 to 24, but so far details only dates and times, not formats. The definitive schedule is due to be published on Tuesday.
It was understood that some brands — including Louis Vuitton and Dior — initially hoped to stage physical fashion shows with small audiences, health conditions permitting. Those brands have yet to confirm their revised plans, while many others have still not finalized their arrangements, less than two weeks before the start of the event.
The federation usually lists men’s shows and presentations on separate calendars, but united them given the unusual circumstances created by the pandemic, which has driven brands big and small, new and established, to mostly digital formats.
Last June and July saw the first all-digital Paris Fashion Weeks for men and haute couture, with most designers and brands opting for creative videos. The federation partnered with Launchmetrics to build its online hub, which broadcast the films alongside editorial content, online events and a digital showroom.
The women’s ready-to-wear shows in late September and early October featured a mix of digital presentations and physical shows by brands including Dior, Chanel, Hermès and Balmain. Those that staged hybrid events, including a physical fashion show, fared better globally than those opting for a strictly online presence, data showed.
Paris has become the preeminent European fashion week for men’s wear, although some brands have gone coed and moved to the February/March women’s calendar, including the likes of Balmain, Valentino and Givenchy.