Coronavirus, Consent + Other Hot Topics at Paris Fashion Week

Coronavirus has dominated conversations at Paris Fashion Week over the past several days.

Even among the many people who are attempting to go about business as usual, there is concern about the growing pandemic threatening global health and economy.

Here are some of the statements designers made on the runway about coronavirus and other social issues.

Dystopian Couture

The timing of Rick Owens’ typically dystopian fall collection did nothing to alleviate the ever escalating coronavirus anxiety. The zip-up waders and gauntlet gloves done in transparent rubber resonated as they bore an uncanny resemblance to the protective suits donned by doctors and medical staff. Same went for the hazmat blue colorway that punctuated the designer’s habitual black. As for those quilted capes, one couldn’t help but think of how they come in use in case of a quarantine.

Rick Owens fall 2020 runway show Paris Fashion Week
A model in duvet-style outerwear at the Rick Owens fall ’20 show.
CREDIT: WWD/Shutterstock

The Kiss

Celebrating her close ties with the LGBT community, Christelle Kocher staged her Koché finale with two models, trans woman Venus Liuzzo and Santa K, kissing passionately in the middle of her cavernous AccorHotels Arena venue. The soundtrack? Foreigner’s “I Want to Know What Love Is.” The moment struck a chord for sexual freedom and pride.

koche, kiss
Koche, fall ’20, Paris Fashion Week.
CREDIT: Shutterstock

Me 2.0

Maria Grazia Chiuri staged her fall ’20 show with Dior’s feminist credentials emblazoned in flashing neon signage suspended from the ceiling of Jardin des Tuileries, the venue for her fall ’20 show. The collaboration with feminist artist Claire Fontaine featured slogans including “When Women Strike, the World Stops,” “Women Are the Moon That Moves the Tides,” and “Patriarchy = CO2,” a correlation between patriarchy and the current climate emergency. There were also signs that read “We Are All Clitoridian Women,” which spoke to placing the emphasis on pleasure, as opposed to reproduction, when it comes to sex. However, the most ubiquitous of these slogans was one word: “Consent.” Coming just one day after Harvey Weinstein was convicted of sexual assault and rape, it echoed a sentiment that reverberated beyond the world of fashion.

christian dior, fall 2020, paris fashion week
Christian Dior, fall ’20, Paris Fashion Week
CREDIT: Shutterstock

When Art Imitates Life

The use of masks obscuring the face is a recurrent theme of Marine Serre’s work. The designer deploys them to draw attention to the climate emergency referencing both pollution and extreme weather conditions. But this time around, they took on a new resonance. Serre’s show on the morning of Feb. 25 took place amid news that coronavirus was spreading in Italy, just one day after fashion week closed there.

marine serre, coronavirus, mask, paris fashion week
Marine Serre, fall ’20, Paris Fashion Week.
CREDIT: Shutterstock

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