The BoF Podcast: A Fashion Month Unlike Any Other

LONDON, United Kingdom — By the last two weeks of fashion month, the world had changed, with the coronavirus Covid-19 spreading quickly across the globe. This week on the BoF Podcast, Editor-in-Chief Imran Amed and Editor-at-Large and renowned fashion critic Tim Blanks give their verdict on a fashion month unlike any other.

In uncertain times, the dominatrix prevailed. During the Autumn/Winter 2020 shows — which were marked by a defiant glamour that, according to Blanks, serves as a distraction from the world’s troubles — the dominatrix figure first emerged on the BDSM-inspired Fendi runway, then at the Saint Laurent show via leather trousers and tailored jackets and finally at Junya Watanabe. “Three times in fashion and you have a trend,” Blanks said.

Demna Gvasalia’s take on this season’s Balenciaga was likewise “shaped by geopolitics” and “these giant political and economic machines that grind human beings to dust periodically,” Blanks said. The venue was inspired by an underwater auditorium, a timely message of “nature finally saying ‘buster, had enough, it’s over.’” Despite this, the show was also an optimistic one in its glorification of the natural world.

Jonathan Anderson and Craig Green are examples of designers who are working innovatively to layer emotion, craft and narrative in their thought-provoking and complex designs. Blanks compares their designs to “reading a really good book or seeing a really good movie.”

Fashion is still one place where you get to see so many different creative impulses.

Experiences that go beyond the traditional runway walk are taking over fashion month as more designers across the board collaborate with choreographers and sound producers. Marc Jacobs and Issey Miyake were among the designers that incorporated dance in their shows, while Alessandro Cortini’s soundtracks for Fendi and Alexander McQueen among others elevated the events. “Fashion is still one place where you get to see so many different creative impulses joined in one common endeavour,” Blanks said.

This fashion month also prompted questions around how 2020 will unfold. Blanks questions the notion that economic growth and sustainability can be reconciled. “I think it comes down to what we consume and how we consume,” Amed said. “Consumption of all types needs to evolve.”

To Amed and Blanks, it appears that the world’s uncertainties have seeped into the fashion world. What might the fashion shows of the future look like, if they exist at all? Listen to the episode to get the complete download.