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After the conclusion of Paris Fashion Week — the first in-person version of the event since the pandemic took hold in early 2020 — BoF’s editor at large Tim Blanks sat down with BoF founder and CEO Imran Amed to discuss his reflections on fashion’s return to the runway.
Designers appeared to come out of lockdown with renewed energy, breathing new life and ideas into their collections. Highlights included Jonathan Anderson’s Loewe collection, Extinction Rebellion’s talked-about moment during Louis Vuitton and the week’s finale, a tribute to the late Alber Elbaz.
Still, Blanks said that he doesn’t believe fashion has seen the full effects of the pandemic just yet. “I think in a sense everything changed and we haven’t processed it yet,” he said. “It’s going to take a long time.”
On the latest episode of The BoF Podcast, Amed and Blanks explore what fashion learned from its break.
Jonathan Anderson’s Loewe show leaned on the surreal to expand upon the designer’s previous pandemic-era collections and experimented with new themes. It also marked a departure from previous runway show setups; this year’s show was staged in a bare-bones space that highlighted Anderson’s sculptural silhouettes. “Of all the designers that we’ve followed so closely, his response to the pandemic was perhaps the most creative,” said Blanks. “I think it was maybe his best show for Loewe.”
The Simpsons’ surprise appearance at Balenciaga also provided some levity to the week, with an abbreviated episode of the hit cartoon featuring characters walking in a Balenciaga show. Demna Gvasalia also explored themes of distance with a screening replacing a traditional runway show. Even without the Simpsons’ star power, Gvasalia showed a collection that excited buyers and critics alike, particularly in bags and accessories.
Climate activist group Extinction Rebellion brought about what was perhaps the most talked-about moment of fashion week. During Louis Vuitton’s runway show, an activist stormed the runway carrying a banner that read “Overconsumption = Extinction” — prompting a discussion on whether the pandemic has changed the industry at all. “Maybe the system hasn’t changed, but the people who work in the system have been changed and that’s maybe going to change the way the industry interacts,” said Amed.