Thursday, August 13, 2020

Jonathan Anderson: “I love doing shows but this video is one, in another form”

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Do we only have the right to say so, when this is one of the shutdowns caused by the Covid-19? The cancellation of fashion weeks (in fact generating moments of collective transhumance not at all virus-free) rejoices us. Because it should be momentary, and therefore it constitutes an appreciable break in a soap opera A endless day – this film where Bill Murray plays a weather presenter who relives again and again the same day. Fashion weeks have multiplied so much, with more and more fashion shows, that a feeling of force-feeding has finally settled down with concomitant weariness. Even though these events are supposed to arouse wonder, around the notions of excellence, beauty, intuition and know-how.

So, of course, these fashion weeks are crucial for a decisive artistic and economic sector, they are its showcase, and the garment needs to be seen so that we want to wear it. But precisely: the “all digital” formula chosen for this salvo in Covid’s time allows the exhibition, but in a new way, and therefore intriguing. With, obviously, this pitfall question: can the virtual, as creative as it is, compete with the real in terms of perception and sensations?

Shanghai Fashion Week was the first to apply it. From March 24 to 30, while China was bending under the health emergency, it was held exclusively online, fully broadcast on its site and that of Tmall, the online business site linked to the Chinese giant Alibaba, and relayed through social networks. And it was out of the question to give up the business: each brand had to present between 15 and 20 looks to put on sale live during the parades – the famous “see now, buy now». Balance sheet: more than 11 million views and 2.6 million euros. This resolutely commercial aspect was absent from the London version which took place from June 12 to 14, with a mix of presentations of collections in the form of videos, interviews, making-of.

Make way now for that of Paris (before Milan from July 14 to 17), which begins Monday with haute couture – followed by men’s collections. It will be retransmitted via the platforms set up by the Haute Couture and Fashion Federation and accessible to the general public. On the program: videos produced by the houses, a magazine produced in collaboration with the French Fashion Institute, various events (conferences, conversations, concerts, cultural visits).

Read also“For now, the virus has knocked out the fashion”

But some are already drawing. Before Hermès Sunday, wunderkind British Jonathan Anderson (these days at the party thanks to pop star Harry Styles) unveiled his spring-summer 2021 men’s and cruise 2021 women’s collections via his brand’s website. And the way chosen was convincing: a twelve-minute video devoid of any mannequin and even of any clothing (in favor of sketches of silhouettes), where the designer speaks, quite simply, of his London office. He details the box sent upstream to journalists, which looks like a “do it yourself” kit (fabric samples, dried flowers, masks designed by artist Pol Anglada, mantra cards, collection lookbooks), indicates his intention , comments on the period and the impact of confinement on his work, “Important moment, cathartic” and calls for a “Refocusing on what we do best”.

(Photo JW Anderson)

After posting this video, he gave brief interviews via Zoom to Release especially.

How did you envisage this Fashion Week?

I went through confinement in London and went through all the phases, from the worst to the best. Among other things, I wondered if it meant anything, to continue this collection, to participate in this digital version, but in the end I am happy that it is not done in “face-to-face”, and that it can be seen by everyone from is home. Anyway, thanks to social media, the democratization of fashion weeks has already been going on for years, and that’s very good. And then this period was a moment of very intense reflection, with a return to basics such as the need to be satisfied with what we have and to be aware of our luck. I came out with the desire to be absolutely sincere in my emotions and I believe that my proposal is one of my most personal. I think we should appreciate this moment, not try to speed it up.

The box sent to journalists has a playful side, manual activity …

Digital is wonderful, but doing it for yourself is necessary, humans have this need in themselves, it was also seen during confinement: everyone cooked, knitted, tinkered … And then this kit is an invitation to improvise, to interpret, to let your imagination run wild.

Do you understand that this constraint would therefore be an opportunity to communicate differently and to renew itself?

Yes. And we will have to learn from it. I love to do shows but basically this video is one, of another form. I do not exclude to repeat the experience.

One of the mantra cards says “The future is not written”, between uncertainty and promise…

The moment is very difficult but at the same time I am not easily depressed. And then humanity has already gone through even more serious periods, and the human being is capable of forgiving as well as forgetting.

Sabrina Champenois

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