Did Chiara Ferragni & Aniye By Just Show Us What Digital Fashion Shows Are Going to Feel Like
In a surprise move, Italian design house Aniye By became the first European design house to present their spring 2021 collection via a digital fashion show complete with 27 looks, on 17+ different models, filmed in front of a live audience of … 1, uber-influencer Chiara Ferragni.
The showing echo a common sentiment shared lately by designers and CEO’s that the audience for live shows would be smaller and selective for the upcoming spring collections in September. Fashion influencers with large followings, such as Chiara Ferragni who is perhaps the largest with 20.3 million followers, would, of course, be courted and perhaps paid to share the show with their audience. Ferragni indeed posted about the show twice although both posts were selfies as she didn’t share the looks from the show even though she was filmed capturing the runway finale with her iPhone.
The video exemplifies the awkwardness of the low number of live attendees as Ferragni is filmed walking into a dark room in front of a catwalk with but one chair positioned to the side for her to sit to view the collection. As Ferragni glides into the black leather Mies van der Rohe-like chair a faint grin crosses her face as she knowingly recognizes how different this show is from others being the audience of one. The film camera proceeds to capture not just the models on the catwalk but Ferragni’s reaction to the models making her as much the subject as the audience.
The translation of the show format, from the setting to the faux audience, feels as empty as the room itself and calls into question how designers will accomplish building excitement in the current pandemic and culturally shifting world. Granted Aniye By is a more mainstream contemporary brand, but the idea of the clothes themselves being the sole narrative, in a simple runway setting with a small audience, is one that should be challenged by creative storytellers and brands. There was ALWAYS more to clothing than the product itself, and design houses should find ways to put that first, or else they too may find themselves alone.