Fashion in a Pandemic: A Recap

Written by: Ines

Edited by: Jessica

Visual by: Mischka

Twice a year, Paris, Milan, London, and New York transcend their labels as the cultural centers of their respective countries as they morph into the legendary fashion capitals of the planet. As hosts to the bedazzling runways of opulence, these cities feature the works of designers from Alexander McQueen to Zadig & Voltaire, as well as the newest couture and ready-to-wear collections of high fashion houses in the likes of Chanel, Christian Dior, and Versace.

The famed fashion months of February and September begin with a week of shows in New York, followed by those in London and Milan, and eventually coming to a close in Paris. In the more established shows, the fashion industry’s elite sit front row to witness the designs first hand. These fashion A-listers often include Vogue’s Editor-in-Chief, Anna Wintour, supermodels Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell, and Cindy Crawford, as well as fashion brands’ ambassadors in the likes of Lily-Rose Depp for Chanel, Anya Taylor-Joy for Dior, and Zendaya for Valentino. To sit front-row at any one of these profoundly prominent shows translates to an invitation to partake in the glitz and glamor of fashion week, the dream of any industry insider.

To the naked eye, fashion month may be misinterpreted as simply an excuse for attendees to arrive in luxury and sumptuous vêtements, but to a trained eye, these events truly represent so much more. These designer collections consisting of pieces that often sell for anywhere in the 2,000 to 20,000 dollar range are oftentimes meant to be worn by the wealthy and famous, but this does not mean the industry is esoteric. High-fashion designer collections are often looked to for and hold the power of dictating the newest trends and forces in fashion. For example, in 2018, Versace’s SS19 Collection featured a series of monochrome slip dresses and tops with notable cowl neck lines, one of which—worn by “It Model” Emily Ratajkowski— proceeded to become one of the highlights of the show and season. When the SS19 season finally began, the cowl neck began to pop up on numerous red carpets, sported by high profile celebrities and influencers in the likes of Kim Kardashian, Lily Collins, and Charlie XCX among others. And while cowl necks continued to appear in Versace’s succeeding collections, it wasn’t until model Gigi Hadid’s now-iconic Jacquemus FW20 dawning of the cowl neck that had the neck line appearing at a much larger scale. The look was then replicated on a variety of social media platforms, which led to an increasing demand for similarly styled dresses and, consequently, tops. Today, cowl necks can be found anywhere from TikTok For You pages, to casual Instagram stories, to the inside of your very own closet.

 If you’d like a better understanding of this concept, this clip from the 2006 fashion-forward classic The Devil Wears Prada explains it in greater detail. And for those of you wondering where you can learn more about upcoming trends for the seasons to come, the editors of Vogue have put together a series of comprehensive articles going into further detail regarding these trends:

Fashion month, however, has been even more outlandish than usual ever since the pandemic struck in March of 2020, and social distancing became what was expected: lockdowns were imposed, and mask mandates were introduced. Undoubtedly, this came as a great impasse for the fashion industry due to the fact that they would have to be meticulously careful and cautious when it came to their COVID guidelines at shows, or have no shows at all. Nevertheless, the artistic minds of the fashion industry persisted. Creative director for Moschino, Jeremy Scott, scaled down his entire 40-piece SS21 collection to be worn by and for an audience of marionette puppets; while Donatella Versace held an audience-less, virtual show set in a vertical maze for her FW21 collection. And while other houses stuck to the traditional runway but incorporated the requirement of masks and 6-meter-apart seating, it can be concluded that the fashion industry remained alive and well amidst the pandemic.
But today, after over two years since lockdowns began, it appears that when it comes to COVID, the world is nearing the tunnel’s end. Valentino came back full-swing with their all fuschia and black Pink PP Collection, Chanel called for “Infinite Tweed” at The Grand Palais Éphémère, the Eiffel Tower was arguably outshined by the Yves Saint Laurent show that took place just meters away from it, and if the hemline index is to be believed, Miu Miu’s rebellious micro miniskirt means economic good times are on the way. That being said, as in-person, social distancing and maskless shows have recommenced and collections unveiled, it seems too that there is an exhilaratingly refreshing trend in fashion emerging, or in this case re-emerging, for the 2022 Spring-Summer season.