COVID’s ruined a lot of great things about life recently, but the fashion industry wasn’t about to let runway shows be one of them. A ton of luxury houses have taken this opportunity to make more out of COVID’s lemons than lemonade. Cases in point: Fendi and Dior, who’ve produced incredible shows this season despite the still-present COVID restrictions.

Live-streamed virtually, the two recent shows kept a finger on the fading pulse of a “traditional” fashion show and used the livestream format to create a deeper audience experience with the artistic foundations of their respective collections.

Fendi stayed close to what is commonly thought of for fashion shows (models walking one by one down a straight path) while incorporating a live theater / Broadway-esque feel to the whole endeavor. The staging, lighting, camera work, and final model placement gave the air of a coordinated story, staying just short of telling viewers what to feel and think. We’ll try not to ruin it for you, but the use of architectural glass in setting up the topography of a truly massive warehouse space was just absolutely next-level, and the entire show seems to have been produced on a budget more fitting a Michael Bay movie than a fashion show. While the show did focus on the looks themselves, Fendi nevertheless took set buildout, symbolic / semiotic storytelling, and overall theatricality to new heights in the world of runway fashion.

Fendi Dior Runway
Credit: Fendi
Fendi Dior Runway
Credit: Dior

Dior took the whole idea of a runway show and told the rest of the fashion industry to hold its beer. Ditching the catwalk entirely, the esteemed French house produced an ethereal, dream-like short film evocative of new classics like Pan’s Labyrinth and Beasts of the Southern Wild. With the overtly presented theme of Tarot, Dior took viewers on a journey of magical realism, presenting its looks within the context of various Tarot archetypes. Symbolism, again, was crucial in deploying theme and message; but, this is fashion, so when is it not? The real pivot, and strength, of the Dior show was its perhaps unprecedented evocation of emotion through fashion. The various pieces within the collection came alive in their respective dioramas, playing central roles in leading the audience to feel at the sight of them: fear, wonder, arousal, and more.

Fashion has always been about pushing the envelope and staying relevant. But in this era of limited in-person experiences, the houses of luxury–and even others in fashion–have taken it upon themselves to bring us new and interesting ways to experience their collections, and we at DRL are fully here for it.

See the Fendi show here.

See the Dior show here.



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