Fashion week during a global pandemic is a little surreal. In an instant, a five-day London Fashion Week schedule, usually packed with back-to-back catwalk shows and presentations, is literally just a handful life events to accommodate social-distancing and ensuring Covid-19 safety.While most have opted for a digital viewing of their spring/summer 2020 collections, there are a few designers who are putting on a traditional catwalk show, the first of which was Bora Aksu, who opened day two of London Fashion Week with his signature ethereal silk tulles and frills.
A catwalk show during a global pandemic is a little different. First off, there were less than 30 guests invited to see the collection. Each editor was led through the doors of St Paul’s Church, in the heart of London’s Covent Garden, to the beautiful courtyard gardens where we were shown to our quintessentially English park bench. Mine was in memory of Eva Harbert, described as a “remarkable and respected lady,” which felt fitting as Bora Aksu’s collection was a celebration of women.
While in past seasons, there probably would have been four or five editors crammed onto one bench, it felt very luxurious, each editor had their own bench and told to sit in the centre to assure maximum social distance from their neighbours.
It felt strange, waiting for the show to start and looking down the catwalk at just a handful of an audience. There was none of the usual catwalk mingling, the rush of people trying to find their seats or the usual celeb spotting. Instead, editors were seen waving at one another, smiles hidden behind masks, waiting for the music to start.
On each bench, Bora Aksu also provided his guests with a Covid-19 ready goodie bag, with a neon-infused face mask, hand sanitiser, and a vitamin drink to boost your immune system.
When I asked Bora Aksu why it was important to do a physical showcase under these extreme circumstances, he stated: “I think after being isolated for so long and not being able to interact with each other, it was very important for me to do a physical show during LFW in a totally new way.
“The old ways of operating and communicating in fashion seems so far away that we are now discovering more intimate ways to communicate and be more inclusive. Being creative is something that I feel we shouldn’t compromise as creativity is a way to bring light into our world.”