In light of the pandemic, an at-home fashion show may seem low on the list of priorities on a Friday afternoon in what feels like week 152 of lockdown. Even as a fashion director, eking out a few minutes to watch a live stream meant scrambling to get my daughter down for her nap and racing to the computer just moments before the Fashion Unites amfAR Against COVID-19 runway show kicked off. Needless to say, I was sweating when I sat down to watch, but when I hit the play button, I forgot about all that. It was like being transported to a runway show, in a room with other people who also genuinely love fashion, but it was also so much better.
Like many in the fashion industry, I've been doing a lot of soul searching lately. How and why is fashion important or even relevant right now? Well, if you tuned in to the show today, the thousands of commenters reacting in real time to the runway would be your first clue: it's connecting us. The virtual runway became a very real way to engage with the fashion world we love and, most importantly, to do so in a more relatable way than ever.
DIY hair and makeup, clothes plucked from their own closets, and hallways and stairwells turned into makeshift runways reminded us all that even the fashion industry's heavyweights are all at home like us.
While I've long loved the magic that comes with a produced runway show at Fashion Week, I don't know that any of us has the appetite for that right now. Sure, I'm dreaming of attending another Chanel show at the Grand Palais when this is all over, but if that had been what was offered online today, I might have tuned it out. Instead, I got just what I needed via the candid, human moments models gave us right from their homes. DIY hair and makeup, clothes plucked from their own closets, and hallways and stairwells turned into makeshift runways reminded us all that even the fashion industry's heavyweights are all at home like us, experiencing the same thing, and just trying to work through it as best they can. In the absence of film crews and wardrobe, that means propped up iPhones to record their catwalks and looks that may be half-styled, but are fully representative of their own individual style.
Maybe we didn't need a fashion show right now, but we do need more of this: more ways to connect and uplift each other.
There was some high-fashion — a gold chainmail minidress on Natasha Poly — but more joy-inducing were the stripped-down moments. Carolyn Murphy walked barefoot in high-waisted jeans and a t-shirt. Ashley Graham, who appeared half-dressed, dancing in a bra and biker shorts, and later, in her socks and a button-down, almost brought me to tears. It wasn't a particularly great outfit, but it was incredibly human — a new mom dancing at home in her socks and whatever she felt like throwing on. I could relate.
Maybe we didn't need a fashion show right now, but we do need more of this: more ways to connect and uplift each other. Maybe in the past, that's what Fashion Week and the runway shows did, and hopefully they will again someday, when fantasizing about perfectly coiffed hair and a slick, styled runway feels like the right kind of fodder. Right now, I much prefer the home video version, with zero production value and infinitely more meaning.