Is this the new normal? Only time will tell.
The last time the world saw New York Fashion Week, it was back in February 2020. Buyers, editors, and influencers sat shoulder-to-shoulder, watching models walk the runway in the latest collections. Less than two weeks later, Fashion Week attendees were forgoing Milan and Paris shows in fear of catching the new coronavirus. And less than a week after Fashion Month concluded, New York City was nearing full lockdown.
As the world eases out of quarantine and into new restrictions that will guide everyone’s everyday lives, New York Fashion Week is back, but it looks quite different.
For the Spring 2021 season, only a few designers are hosting in-person shows and presentations, like Jason Wu, and they are strictly adhering to the guidelines put in place by the New York governor. Others are opting for pre-recorded, pre-shot, or even live virtual presentations.
There is hardly any street style, there is no backstage footage, and there are very few catwalks. Is this the new normal? Only time will tell. But for now, this is what New York Fashion Week looks like.
Taking a cue from European Menswear Fashion Weeks back in July, when designers such as Jacquemus and Etro found new and different ways to present their collection in person, the fashion world is relentlessly adapting.
Ahead, see the Spring 2021 season of New York Fashion Week in pictures.
Jason Wu was the one of the few designers to present a collection in-person to a socially-distanced crowd of 30 guests.
With the help of Lowe’s, he created a Tulum-like landscape, complete with sand, plants, and a winding boardwalk that acted as runway. The collection was rife with easy silhouettes — from midi dresses in bright yellow to cobalt blue knee-length shorts; crop tops and ethereal gowns alike.
Harlem’s Fashion Row celebrated its 13th annual Style Awards on the first day of NYFW, with the theme “Black Is The New Black,” in celebration of Black creativity across all categories. With respect to social distancing guidelines, the entire event was pre-recorded and digital.
Last fall, designer Thakoon Panichgul brought back his namesake label in a direct-to-consumer manner. He could never have imagined what was to come, though he presented a collection this season that kept with the intentions he initially set for himself and his brand. Re-thinking his approach since Covid, however, this line looks more like the “old” Thakoon, integrating brighter colors, mixed prints, and eyelet textures.
Markarian debuted a collection shot in lookbook form. In a press release from the brand, they noted “Working from home and small gatherings are not going anywhere anytime soon, nor is the mentality of comfortable dressing. We took that way of thinking and need for comfort and turned it into something that rang true to Markarian’s heritage and what we do best.”
The Tibi Spring 2021 collection was not presented, instead shown to editors via high-res images.
Designer Amy Smilovic of Tibi crafted a line that “balances [the] love of humor, modernity, and desire for a bit of nostalgia that our small team is craving.” In it are mix-and-match pieces that hold her signature youthful tailoring, while still feeling appropriate for the new socially-distant world.
New York Fashion Week again showcased young, independent designers to watch through the Flying Solo show. This year, it was presented with a truncated guest list, socially-distanced and outside.
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