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Fashion week organizers are taking action to save yet another season overshadowed by the Covid-19 pandemic, as the Omicron variant spreads globally, with stricter regulations and vaccination requirements enforced in many locations.
The men’s fashion week (January 18-23) and couture (January 24-27) still continue in Paris, as well as the Milanese events. Fashion houses have started asking if they want to participate. On Tuesday, Giorgio Armani announced the cancellation of the Giorgio Armani and Emporio Armani menswear shows in Milan and the Privé couture show in Paris “in light of the worsening epidemiological situation”.
However, many of the bigger brands have confirmed that Vogue Business stick to their physical show plans including Hermès, Dior, Loewe, Ami and Kenzo, which will mark Art Director Nigo’s first show. Newcomers betting on physical shows include Bianca Saunders, Egonlab, and Rains. Paco Rabanne and Alaïa plan to organize women’s clothing shows on January 23rd. In the men’s calendar there is also the Louis Vuitton show, with the latest collection designed by Virgil Abloh before his death, even if the details on the format were not immediately available. The final calendar with the indication of the formats is expected in the next few days.
In France, new daily cases of Covid-19 hit a record high of 300,000 on Tuesday. The day before, France’s Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode sent government health measures to participating homes, with a further protocol scheduled for next week. Restrictions include wearing face masks (also mandatory on the streets of Paris) and having a vaccination pass. Spectators must be seated with a physical distance of at least one meter between two people, with no standing space allowed. Models not wearing a mask must maintain a distance of two meters. Cocktail parties are likely to be avoided, as France has banned staying in bars and cafes starting January 3 and for three weeks, so until the end of men’s week.
Participation by publishers and buyers will vary. Fully vaccinated travelers from European countries and the US need a negative PCR or antigen test to enter France, while UK travelers are excluded from non-essential travel. Paris Fashion Week doesn’t count as a reason for visitors to enter the country. For those unable to participate, all the shows will be streamed on the digital platforms of the events. Disruption may occur until show time, as event coordinators plan to prepare for positive Covid testing among attendees, models and other staff. This means that the catwalks may look different than usual if they are able to move forward.