What we learned from London Fashion Week
By Elizabeth Paton
This past weekend was always going to be unlike any London Fashion Week before.
There were no live runway shows. No front row, backstage beauty scrum or heaving photographers’ pit; no mouthy security on the door or street-style snaps taken outside gilded venues. With coronavirus travel bans and social distancing measures still in place in Britain, there were no big crowds. And with most brands continuing to struggle with the economic fallout of the global crisis, only a handful of the showcased collections were new designs.
The question was: Could a digital equivalent, watched from your sofa, ever be the same?
The answer — at least for now — is no.
The British Fashion Council always acknowledged this replacement of what would have been the spring 2021 menswear shows would be an experiment as well as a reset. Still, the three-day affair, built on a Netflix-style home page with streamed events and new content created by brands, retailers, cultural institutions, media partners and students alike, was a bold effort given the circumstances. And, perhaps, the beginnings of a road map for where the concept and purpose of fashion week could go next — with or without a live audience.