Yves Saint Laurent Foregoes Paris Fashion Week. Will Others Follow Suit?

BY Tanika D'Souza / Apr 29 2020 / 10:30 AM

The unprecedented response from the French fashion house may disrupt an otherwise carefully structured runway calendar

Yves Saint Laurent Foregoes Paris Fashion Week. Will Others Follow Suit?

In a decision no less valiant than the brand by which it was made, Yves Saint Laurent has officially announced its exit from Paris Fashion Week 2020. With the ongoing impacts of COVID-19, the move pays homage to an ever-changing global landscape in which the tangible impacts of uncertainty and dread must be juxtaposed against adaptability and grit.

The Parisienne powerhouse, whose fashion week escapades once made up the very definition of sartorial splendor, will thus forego the pre-set schedule set out for the year, employing a new and evolved format that speaks directly to their customer.

While the rejection of seasonal schedules is not a novel pursuit on behalf of YSL, whose resort and pre-fall collections already debut on an independent timetable, the latest decision is centred around an even deeper and more poignant reverence for genuine, unbound creativity.

Anthony Vaccarello, the brand’s creative director believes that in dispelling the importance of schedule and order, this year’s collection will be about “a certain way of living, rather than a certain way of dressing.” A fairly irrefutable notion given the context within which it is conceived. Which begs the question, are fashion week schedules an archaic remnant of a world long gone?

Before the 1970s, designers such as Christian Dior, Pierre Cardin, and indeed Yves Saint Laurent held parties and dinners to showcase their collections.

Void of structure and schedule, these gatherings occurred only when the designer was ready—a concept highly favoured by Francesca Bellettini, YSL’s CEO, who believes creativity “should be free to express itself in the form, place and time [the designer] feels appropriate, with everything else coming after.”

Although YSL’s decision is the first of its kind, the underlying sentiment is echoed by brands such as Gucci and Balmain whose respective directors, Alessandro Michele and Olivier Rousteing, are also calling on changes to the structure of pre-scheduled shows.

As the coronavirus continues to infiltrate every aspect of our lives with change YSL’s decision to forego fashion week is an important - albeit somewhat uncomfortable - reminder that very little, if anything at all, exists in a vacuum.

While this particular change is a response to a system that does not benefit the fashion house this year perhaps it is also an indication of a system that, in general, requires updating.

Lead image courtesy of Jason Lloyd-Evans (Saint Laurent A/W20)