MILAN — Holograms, augmented reality and special effects will take over the 2020 Green Carpet Fashion Awards.

Italy’s Camera della Moda Italiana, in partnership with the Italian government and Eco-Age, has decided to go ahead with the yearly event, but Carlo Capasa, president of the fashion body, said the current scenario called for a “more serious and quieter tone of voice, despite the awards’ element of entertainment.”

Capasa admitted “it would have been easier to skip this year’s edition, given how complicated it all is now, but then with Livia [Firth, founder of brand consultancy Ego-Age], we decided it’s precisely during difficult moments that we must send the message that we are here, in the name of the many artisans and small-sized companies that are suffering.”

“Italy was one of the first countries to go through the pandemic and through so much pain,” Firth said. “We can see this event as a sign of rebirth.”

Directed by Grammy-nominated Giorgio Testi, who has worked with bands and artists from Oasis, Rolling Stones and The Killers to Sting, Amy Winehouse, Adele and Ellie Goulding, and produced by Emmy Award winner Pulse Production, the GCFAs will be filmed and use special effects and augmented reality by Northhouse Studio. Firth and Capasa were mum on the names, but a number of leading talents and celebrities will appear through holographic telepresence, courtesy of ARHT Media.

“This is an enormous project, the biggest I have ever been part of,” admitted Firth, as she touted the event as the first digital green carpet in the world and the first to combine all these technologies in a film.

While the awards for the last three years were held at the tail end of Milan Fashion Week, this year, they will be broadcast by Sky on Oct. 10. The awards will be shown across all the broadcaster’s European territories, as well as with other partners in the U.S. and Asia, including a global premiere on YouTube. A special world premiere during Shanghai Fashion Week will also be held on the same day in a partnership with the Chinese experiential marketing APAX Group.

Capasa said a physical part of the event will be held in Shanghai, as he explained how this will be another way of “creating a bridge with China,” which is obviously a key market for Italy, ticking off other initiatives launched by the Camera such as the digital “China, We Are With You” project in February, enabling Chinese operators to follow Milan Fashion Week shows via livestreaming and dedicated backstage content. “This virus hit us all hard all over the world and showed us also that the future is about collaboration and sustainable solutions,” Capasa observed.

“The world at the end of last year was literally in flames with fires in Australia, Africa and the Amazon rainforest, then we had the pandemic, which touched all countries, social classes and religions — and the fashion industry reacted like no others,” Firth said proudly. “Now the Black Lives Matter movement shows us how the world wants equality and inclusivity. The awards are acknowledging all this. Fashion is a lens onto the world.”

“With the event, we want to have a voice, after the fashion industry has been so responsive to the COVID-19 emergency. And we celebrate the union between countries,” Capasa noted.

The event is being filmed at Milan’s La Scala, where the GCFAs were held in the previous editions, so that the Italian city and the theater remain central to the narrative, Capasa said.

Since the event is digital, it is sustainable, said Firth, but she added that the current moment “has us reflect on what sustainability is today compared to the pre-COVID-19 world. All values have changed.”

Central to the awards, a web experience will launch two weeks before the event and will give a global perspective of the work being done by designers, manufacturers and individuals to create and promote sustainability in fashion.

This year, only five awards of the Chopard statuette, produced in ethical gold, will be bestowed during the event, which is expected to last about 50 to 60 minutes. “It will be a show, but the more streamlined version of this edition, with fewer awards and less glamour and glitz, is more in sync with the moment,” Capasa said. Last September, for example, Sophia Loren handed Valentino Garavani the Legacy Award, and Colin Firth and Amber Valletta bestowed the GCFA Groundbreaker Award on Stella McCartney.

“The awards reflect the five values we want to see represented in this new era,” said Firth, citing Indian writer and activist Arundhati Roy, who has referred to this period as a “portal — a gateway between one world and the next. We can choose to walk through it, dragging the carcasses of our old modus operandi. Or we can walk through lightly, with little luggage, ready to imagine another world. And ready to fight for it.  This is the strong message that will emerge from this year’s GCFA.”

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