How Designers Navigated Live Shows with Audiences Amid a Pandemic
Myriad fashion houses over the past few weeks have achieved the seemingly impossible task of safely executing Spring 2021 Fashion shows during the global pandemic in London, Milan, and Paris – from the biggest megabrands like Chanel, Dior, and Valentino down to smaller, more independent labels such as Gabriela Hearst and Drome. How did they do it?
The “how” came down to an admixture of careful planning, strict adherence to government guidelines, and utilization of outdoor venues when possible. In Paris, restrictions were in place limiting the number of fashion show guests to 1000 individuals or less, and all guests were required to wear face coverings. The city had a spike in Covid-19 infections just a few days prior to the first show, therefore all the bars and cafes were closed down; restaurants were allowed to stay open but they could not seat parties larger than 6, and 3 feet of social distancing was required between each guest. Generally the fashion shows maintained a similar amount of social distance between seats for the audience members, and due to travel restrictions some brands such as Balmain and Miu Miu concocted novel solutions to bring key players in virtually with live feeds, and screens as stand-ins for celebrity fans who couldn’t be there in person.
The feeling of attending the socially-distanced shows was largely dependent on how many audience members there were, where the events took place, and of course, a picture is worth a thousand words. Below are images from the shows to give a taste of the varied ambiance, including mask-wearing crowds and behind-the-scenes moments.