Naomi Campbell opened Paris Couture Week with a video address dedicated to the “fight for equality and diversity.”
“This is a call for action we are making,” she said, wearing sleeveless T-shirt bearing the words PHENOMENALLY BLACK.
Seated on a cream-colored sofa in a gilded room, a crystal chandelier behind her head, Campbell quoted Nelson Mandela and the Black Lives Matter movement.
“It is up to us, it is up to you to start enforcing inclusion of the multitude of identities that compose our countries,” she said. “The time has come to build a more equitable industry with a good form of checks and balances.
“It is now more than ever compulsory to include them in a permanent way, and not a transient one,” she added.
The supermodel urged “regular and sustainable conversations with minorities from each countries and cultures, who already invisible actors of this mega industry.
“It starts now, in France,” she concluded. “I am Naomi Campbell and I declare Paris couture fashion week ouvert. Merci.”
With no new collection this season, Schiaparelli presented a short film showing creative director Daniel Roseberry sketching what it dubbed an “Imaginary Collection.” He was seated on a bench in Washington Square Park in New York, where he was marooned during the lockdown.
“Life today is lived according to opposites; the pandemic has inverted everything we knew. Now, instead of a team to execute this collection, I just have my own imagination. Instead of the Place Vendôme in Paris, it’s been designed and sketched on a park bench,” the designer said in a statement.
His drawings featured nods to founder Elsa Schiaparelli including a shocking pink column dress; a jacket with leg-of-mutton sleeves, and a “chandelier” top. The house hopes to show a capsule collection of these designs in Los Angeles in December.
“Everything has changed, but imagination, and the drive to create, has never been more relevant, or more profound. This collection is a tribute to that impulse to create,” said Roseberry. “Someday very soon, I will venture back to Paris and hand these styles off to the atelier. We will make a portion of these and take them around the world to share with our valued clients and stylists.”
Ulyana Sergeenko shared a three-part video showcasing the ancestral lacemaking techniques that formed the backdrop for her collection of vintage-inspired power dressing pieces.
IRIS VAN HERPEN:
The short film by Ryan McDaniels shows Game of Thrones’ “Melisandre” actress Carice van Houten wandering a modern courtyard emoting, her limbs washed with pulsating lights, interspersed with scenes of loose black crystals magically assembling into the same lattice shape on a stone floor, and then dispersing in the wind. The film crystallizes the blend of high-tech and organic that Van Herpen does so well.
Maria Grazia Chiuri, artistic director of women’s haute couture, ready-to-wear and accessory collections at Dior, tapped Italian director Matteo Garrone to produce a short film showcasing the intricate outfits – both miniature and life-sized – of her fall 2020 haute couture collection.
The movie, titled “The Dior Myth,” took viewers on a wordless journey to a wood filled with fairy-tale creatures like a siren, nymphs, a faun and a woman emerging from a giant shell. The images recalled the director’s 2015 fantasy film “Tale of Tales.”
As twin porters carried the trunk of clothes through the forest, characters including a stone statue of Venus choose the dress of their dreams, appearing at the end clad in their new vestments. “We really wanted a tale about this idea of the magic dream of couture,” said Chiuri.
It’s something of a departure for Garrone, known for hard-hitting fare like his mafia thriller “Gomorrah.” His most recent, an adaptation of “Pinocchio” starring Roberto Benigni, saw its French release scuppered by the COVID-19 outbreak.
MAISON RABIH KAYROUZ:
Kayrouz worked with artist and film director Nasri Sayegh for the film, entitled “320/38.” It starts out with images of Beirut — trees swaying in front of apartment buildings — and closes with a model twirling around in the bright orange dress in an empty Paris workshop, dancing across the well-worn wooden parquet. Further bridging the two cities, the sensual voice of Shadia carries the audience through the film, punctuated with music.
RALPH & RUSSO:
Travel may be out of bounds right now, but in the digital world, anything’s possible. Tamara Ralph sought to create a dreamlike Ralph & Russo collection that her avatar could model with the Seven Wonders of the World as a backdrop.
With Azzaro’s longstanding link to music and film stars in mind, designer Olivier Theyskens gave carte blanche to Belgian singer Sylvie Kreusch and director Lukas Dhont to spotlight his first couture creations for the house in a music video. In it, Kreusch wears a number of slim, sparkly gowns while performing the song “Seedy Tricks.”
With physical shows canceled due to COVID-19, Giambattista Valli showcased his designs with a film that juxtaposed extreme closeups of his creations with videos from his iPhone. “I’m taking by the hand all the viewers around the world who are still confined and can’t travel, and showing them Paris through my eyes,” he explained.
More on Paris Couture Week: