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NYFW – Towards a New Kind of Fashion Show

In the absence of conventional shows at NYFW, a number of alternative presentation models have been adopted with varying degrees of success: film shorts (Christian Cowan), runway shows sans audiences (Jason Wu, Raisavenessa) and capsule-like videos in static locations (Epimonia, The Blonds).

What most of these shows highlight is the extent to which – under normal conditions – the full show adds value. We generally think we’re at the show for the clothes, but lockdown challenges this presupposition; most attempts at something like normality fall short now. What’s needed (and only been partly attempted) is a new visual medium.

C+ Plus Series attempted a digitally enhanced techno fest that matched the sci-fi garb of its Asian models. Christian Cowan broke the mould (and the fifth wall) with a comical sketch featuring Bowen Yang and Chloe Fineman that seemed part camp send up and only part fashion show.

Marcell Von Berlin just sounds serious, and the show (at an abandoned Malibu pad with panoramic views of sky and ocean) was also (ironically) weighted. But with a heavy duty techno soundtrack you got pop sultriness, even if none of the models turned out to be Dua Lipa. Outstanding colours, fine materials, a lack of compromise or toning down. It even verged on vulgarity (if not actual ugliness) from time to time. This is what I want in a fashion show – fusion with film to provide a visual feast that can stand without a crowd.

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