Fashion has become the latest fashion victim.
As the Covid-19 pandemic spreads across the globe, haute couture has become just another casualty in the locked down style epicenters of Paris, Milan, New York and occasionally London.
Two of the main events in the runway calendar, Paris men’s fashion week and the haute couture shows scheduled for June and July, have been canceled due to the new strain of coronavirus which has barrelled across China, Europe, the United States and the Asia-Pacific.
“Strong decisions are required to ensure the safety and health of [fashion] houses, their employees and everyone working in our industry,” the Federation de la Haute Couture et de la Mode said in a statement.
“The board of directors … has come to the decision that, in the present conditions, the menswear Paris Fashion Week, scheduled from June 23 to June 28, 2020, and the Haute Couture Week, scheduled from July 5 to July 9, 2020, cannot take place,” it pointed out.
But it added that the “Federation was actively working with its members on possible alternatives” without giving further details.
Major French fashion houses have been badly hit by the outbreak with French designers Yves Saint Laurent and Balenciaga, of the luxury Kering group, switching to manufacturing surgical face masks.
Rival LVMH has also been brought in to fight the virus, launching a line of sanitized hand gel for hospitals at three perfume and cosmetics factories in France.
Last week, fashion brand Armani announced it would start making single-use medical overalls for hospital workers at all its Italian factories.
The blue chip brand, which includes Giorgio Armani and Emporio Armani, said the protective clothing would be used by “healthcare workers engaged in the fight against the coronavirus disease.”
Founder Giorgio Armani has donated 2 million euros, or US$2.2 million, in recent weeks to hospitals around Italy, including Bergamo and Piacenza in the hard-hit north.
The company operates four factories in Italy. But like many other fashion labels, the company has moved most of its production to other countries in recent years, where labor costs are lower.
“Italy has been in lockdown since March 9 to contain the risks of contagion and prevent hospitals from collapsing under the demand of the increasing number of citizens with severe respiratory problems,” Women’s Wear Daily reported.
“As reported, last Saturday Armani took a full-page ad in more than 60 newspapers in Italy, writing a letter to all of the health-care providers strenuously fighting the coronavirus outbreak and musing on his own desire as a young man to become a doctor,” it added.
– additional reporting by AFP