SS21 show invitations that reflect the paradigm shift in the fashion industry

The pandemic has not only changed our world, but also our way of seeing it. Nothing is the same as before, and the fashion industry is no exception. Thanks to the current ‘new normal’, the fashion month has been completely different from what we were used to. Although the majority of fashion shows have been entirely digital, the term ‘pyghital’ has come into play. Alternatives such as augmented-reality have also had a place during these weeks, to provide a certain reality — if we can call it like that — to these unusual times.

However, the reflection caused by this global crisis has given us the chance to witness the most heartfelt collections, yet. Designers got their creative juices flowing and pushed the boundaries of imagination to make their shows an unforgettable experience, from beginning to end. Focusing on the fashion cycle, the show invitation is a key tool to give in advance details that will be unveiled during the presentation, as part of the collection itself. Taking into account that invitations should be anything but invitations, some of the most important brands on the scene have taken advantage of this tool to send out thoughtful messages that fit perfectly with the current paradigm.

In such a digital and ephemeral season, Silvia Venturini Fendi opted for an invitation to awaken the senses and take the guests of Fendi on a trip to the beautiful Italy. Along with the invitation, the firm sent two packs of EFFE N°1925 logo pasta, made in collaboration with RUMMO, one of the most popular pasta producers in the country. It also included a limited-edition portfolio of family images photographed by artist Nico Vascellari and her grandmother’s lemon pesto recipe. The invitation, besides being delicious, clearly embraces a more homely feeling and reminds us of the domestic
universe to which we have immersed ourselves during the last months. Although it was one of the few IRL shows, if a large part of the audience had to watch the show from home, they could, at least, enjoy it with an exquisite plate of pasta.

© Courtesy of Fendi

The invitation of MM6 Maison Margiela showed us how adversities help us to change our point of view. The firm sent a box that contained an unvarnished tin can with a hole in its bottom, where a string was hanging. With the box, came a set of possible suggestions like: wear it as a sophisticated hat, put it in your ear and listen to the sea or use it as a telephone, for instance. And that is, actually, the reflection that the anonymous collective behind the firm wanted to make: the power of imagination is endless. In a moment when we must stay indoors and face much more time in isolation, it is interesting to point out the power of the mind and find new ways to entertain
ourselves.

© Courtesy of MM6 Maison Margiela

Jonathan Anderson, Loewe’s creative director, made a statement with an invitation that called for the creativity of the guests. Following the brand’s “Show-in-a-box”, that was sent to present his Spring2021 men’s collection, the “Show-on-the-Wall” consisted of a three-meter box that contained lifesized posters of the new collection, a roll of wallpaper by British artist Anthea Hamilton, a canvas tool bag, a paintbrush, scissors, a small scented ceramic and the sheet music for Thomas Tallis’s 1570 choral work Spem in alium. The final aim of the action was to give the fashion show guests the opportunity to create their own art installation at home and surround themselves — literally — with
the key looks of the collection.

© Courtesy of Loewe

Moschino also caused a stir this season. For this fashion show, Jeremy Scott, the creative director, designed an invitation in the shape of a mini hanger that spelled out the brand’s name, accompanied by a note with the following message: “As the world seems to be splitting, along the seams, the bare inner workings of something new will be exposed”. A message of hope, which looks at the current situation with the certainty that difficulties always move us forward. The detail of the mini hanger was not gratuitous, but a very significant clue of what was coming next: the tiniest fashion show of the season. The firm went for a scaled-down show with all the models and guests as puppets. Everyone was there: in the crowd we could see from Anna Wintour to Edward Enninful, along the most relevant personalities of the industry. Definitely worth watching!

© Courtesy of Moschino

If one thing is clear is that, during these past months, isolation has led to introspection, and many designers have begun to question its method of creation and work. As Victoria Beckham said before her show, “limitations can be liberating”. The Spring/Summer 2021 fashion shows have reflected this liberation and how the industry has embraced the changes and new formats with passion. Furthermore, the crisis has also had positive consequences, as it has made the fashion industry more accessible. The shows were designed to reach wider audiences through more affordable formats. Although it is clear that fashion requires human interaction, perhaps we should ask ourselves: “Is it time to reimagine the fashion’s cycle and the exhibition formats?”. Only time will tell. At the moment, we must learn to stop, to think and reformulate and to create with direction
and determination in order to take fashion a step further.

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In conversation with Blue Farrier