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Pandemic Forces Paris Fashion Week to go Digital

PARIS, FRANCE - SEPTEMBER 28: Valery Kaufman walks the runway during the Balmain show as part of the Paris Fashion Week Womenswear Spring/Summer 2018 on September 28, 2017 in Paris, France. (Photo by Peter White/Getty Images)

To end the uncertainty over the fate of Paris Fashion Week, the regulatory body of French fashion has said that the Paris men’s and haute couture shows this month will be strictly audience-free over concerns of the coronavirus.

Luxury houses have been told by the Federation de la Haute Couture et de la Mode that they will not be able to invite guests this season, following police orders.

In a statement, the federation said Monday that “we confirm that there can be no public gatherings” at Paris Fashion Week, adding that “houses can still organize ‘real’ runway shows with models broadcast live, provided that their events take place behind closed doors.”

Although Paris is technically not in a lockdown, stringent restrictions limiting movements are in place nationwide, including a 6pm or 8pm curfew. Repeated failure to obey rules can lead to a six-month prison sentence.

France’s second lockdown ended December 15, but restaurants, bars, cinemas, theatres and museums remain closed.

With respect to Milan Fashion Week, despite the best efforts of the Italian fashion council to maintain a minimum level of live shows, top brands have also opted to show their collections with no guests, journalists or photographers present.

The Lombardy region, where Milan is located, appears headed to another partial lockdown.

Fendi, Dolce&Gabbana and Etro all have said their shows won’t include guests. They were among four brands planning live shows this round.

The Milan Fashion Week calendar from January 15-19 is much scaled back from usual, with just 40 brands participating.

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