The globetrotting fashion set has been grounded by the coronavirus. The U.S. ban on travelers from Europe is just the latest blow. Already, businesses were keeping their employees closer to home base while most events have been canceled anyway. Here’s what companies are doing to cope.
Given Balmain’s existing ban in business travel, creative director Olivier Rousteing will not be able to attend the Tribeca Film Festival, where the documentary “Wonder Boy” — retracing the designer’s search for his birth parents — is slated to make its U.S. debut. The festival is scheduled for April 15 to 26 and has its share of fashion-related events.
“Mr. Armani and the management team stays in touch across all subsidiaries with video calls like in the past few weeks,” a company spokesperson said. Since no trips to the U.S. were planned in the upcoming weeks for the founder or company representatives, the group would not be affected by the measure.
Moncler, which has canceled its extraordinary shareholders meeting scheduled for March 16, added separately that it is prioritizing the health of its employees and collaborators, implementing smart working across geographies while securing continuity of operations. Business trips have been canceled and the company remains flexible while constantly monitoring the situation as it develops.
The watch brand has maintained the launch event in New York on Thursday for its new generation of connected watches. Tag Heuer expects more than 300 journalists from across the world to join Frédéric Arnault, the brand’s chief strategy and digital officer, at the event. Only a small number of cancellations have been recorded, said a spokesman for Tag’s parent company LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton.
L’Oréal earlier this week extended its ban on employee business-related travel to April 30. Formerly, that had been through March 31.
Groupe Clarins one week ago extended its employee travel ban for work to all countries until the end of May. The company had originally put the restriction in place for certain countries through March 31. It was too early to say whether the travel ban will disrupt plans for fall 2020 campaign shoots.
Dior shot its men’s campaign in New York last week, during a visit by creative director Kim Jones to celebrate his partnership with Sotheby’s on its spring contemporary art sale, a spokeswoman for the brand said. It has no further advertising shoots planned in the U.S. in the immediate future, she added.
“For Henkel, the effects of the U.S. travel ban are limited, as Henkel has already introduced a policy that provides for the postponement of all business trips that are not business critical,”’ the company said in a statement. “If a trip is classified as ‘business-critical,’ it requires prior written approval. Marketing activities or campaigns are not affected by the travel restrictions.”
“We believe that in such a particular and unexpected moment, it’s important to follow correctly the directions given by the ministry of health and do everything possible to accelerate the resolution of this situation,” said Bulgari chief executive officer Jean-Christophe Babin, explaining that the company has been working via Skype and Zoom meetings for a couple of weeks now.
“This has had no impact on our ordinary and extraordinary management of meetings and planning of future events,” said Babin, who also believes that President Trump’s European flight ban won’t obstruct the company’s business in the short term.
“Our activities in the U.S. were concentrated in the first quarter,” said the executive, mentioning, among others, the Bzero1 product launch during New York Fashion Week last month.
“Other projects will be staged toward the last part of the year and, for the moment, everything remains unchanged,” Babin said. “Some activities might be postponed a few weeks, but certainly not canceled, as growth in the U.S. is among our priorities.”
For the moment, Bulgari employees in the U.S. are fully operative and focused on the ongoing projects, including local road shows that “we planned since a couple of weeks to avoid international travels during a situation we already forecasted as a delicate one.”
On a personal level, the ban won’t impact Babin’s agenda as he did not have any business trips to the U.S. planned before June. Asked about the Met Gala, he said the company “will follow the decisions [taken] by the organizers.”