Paris Fashion Week returns to its pre-pandemic form

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Paris (AFP)- Two years after the first pandemic lockdown in France, Paris Fashion Week is almost back in full swing, with the vast majority of houses returning to live shows.

Women’s Fall/Winter week kicks off Monday with all eyes on Off-White, showcasing the final collection from its founder Virgil Abloh, who died of cancer in November at age 41.

Abloh, a former Kanye West collaborator, made Off-White one of the fastest growing fashion brands and was recruited to head menswear at Louis Vuitton before his career was tragically cut short.

Louis Vuitton, which owns a majority stake in Off-White, believes the brand can continue to grow in Abloh’s absence.

“Off-White is in the position Dior was in in 1957 (when its founder died),” Louis Vuitton CEO Michael Burke told Business of Fashion.

“The question is: what did the founding father leave behind? If the legacy is rich, authentic and rooted in values ​​that go beyond fashion, the chances of turning a passage into something eternal are spectacular.”

Off-White returns to the catwalk for the first time since the Covid-19 pandemic hit – and it’s not the only one.

Of 95 houses listed on the official Parisian calendar, only 13 remained fully online for this fashion week.

The biggest names, including Dior, Chanel and Hermès, are among the 45 brands holding live shows.

Saint Laurent, which had dropped the official schedule during the pandemic, promising to set its own schedule, returned to regular programming.

Others are doing a mix of online films and in-house presentations for buyers and the press – a concept that was conceived during the pandemic and has remained popular with several houses such as Japan’s Issey Miyake.

Metaverse Students

Before all that, the students of the Institut Français de la Mode will kick things off with a fashion-focused digital presentation for the metaverse.

“The metaverse is being built and it will continue to grow. It’s important to be in it,” said Laure Manhes, a master’s student in accessories.

There are logistical benefits to breaking down the barriers between real and virtual clothing, she added, since digital fashion allows young people to gain a foothold without having to make real clothes.

“It’s good to have online visibility when you start. It’s easy, these are tools that we know how to use.”

Physical fashion won’t go away, she added: “But it will evolve based on this new way of thinking and communicating.”

For another master’s student, Lou Comte, the virtual world offers the possibility of mixing different artistic styles in their work: “It’s a chance to open up the field of possibilities and reach more people.”