Typically a four-week parade of buoyant tulle, flashing paparazzo bulbs and endless streetstyle peacockery; fashion month is a cloistered industry event that sees designers display their latest creative work to a sea of press, buyers and stylists.
However, this season has been quite unlike any other, with showgoers contending with everything from the gale force winds of Storm Dennis to Extinction Rebellion protests and the coronavirus outbreak.
However, there have also been plenty of welcome distractions for fashion fans over the last four weeks, including handbags that looked like slices of cake, celebrity catwalk cameos from the likes of Miley Cyrus and the news that Belgian designer Raf Simons would be joining Prada as co-creative director alongside Miuccia Prada.
Ever since news of the virus outbreak began in late January in Wuhan City in the Hubei Province of China, cases have appeared in roughly 80 countries, including the big four which make up the sartorial spectacle that is Fashion Month.
The outbreak of the coronavirus in Northern Italy coincided with Milan Fashion Week, prompting a number of designers to postpone or cancel their shows, including Giorgio Armani who chose to live stream the fashion house’s collection behind closed doors in an empty theatre to “avoid exposing guests to any dangers to their health”.
The Fashion Week rumour mill has also prompted speculation that fashion buyers and editors, including Vogue US editor in chief Anna Wintour, have been encouraged to self-quarantine upon their return as companies moved to stop the spread of covid-19. It is understood that Wintour is monitoring for symptoms for 14 days but will return to work following this period.
With Cruise season fast-approaching, it remains unclear as to whether more fashion houses will be forced to cancel their upcoming shows.
So far, Prada, Gucci and Giorgio Armani have all issued statements announcing that they will not be going ahead with their scheduled Cruise 2021 offerings.
A spokesperson for Gucci said the brand’s decision was in light of “the ongoing uncertainty prompted by the coronavirus outbreak” and that is was “a precautionary measure”.
“A decision on the new timing and location of the show will be announced at a later date, once the situation becomes clearer,” the statement continued.
“At this time, our thoughts are with all of those affected around the world.”