As Paris Cases Rise and New Restrictions Take Hold, the Shows Will Go On at Chanel & Louis Vuitton

As the show goes on at Paris Fashion Week, the city is imposing new coronavirus restrictions as cases across France continue to rise rapidly.

Chanel and Louis Vuitton, two of the French fashion capital’s most famed brands, will close this very unusual season tomorrow with in-person shows — even after the French government said today that Paris and nearby suburbs are now on “maximum alert.” Yesterday, France reported more than 12,500 cases after recording about 17,000 cases a day earlier.

Starting tomorrow, the city will close bars for two weeks. Restaurants are allowed to remain open if they adhere to strict safety regulations and close by 10 p.m.

Retail restrictions included in the new action mandate for stores to limited the number of people to one customer for every 43 square feet. Museums — some of which are now staging several high-profile fashion exhibitions from Christian Louboutin, Chanel and others — can remain open.

The new rules still allow for 1,000 people to gather at events, which include the French Open and also Paris Fashion Week. (Chanel and Louis Vuitton are expected to have a lot fewer than 1,000 people in the audience.)

While there is a limited international audience in Paris right now due to travel restrictions, the fashion crowd — for the second time this year —  has taken a notable risk by gathering in person this week.

In February, as the coronavirus outbreak in Milan upended the entire season, many editors, designers and retailers flew from Italy to France, carrying the virus with them. At the time, with so many unknowns, nearly every big brand stayed the course and held shows and presentations in Paris.

But six months later, a lot more is clear: The global death toll is now more than 1 million, and several European countries are battling a resurgence as the U.S. situation remains grim. As the new restrictions take hold in Paris, should the show really have gone on?

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