- Title: Designers get creative for couture under lockdown
- Date: 7th July 2020
- Summary: PARIS, FRANCE (JULY 3, 2020) (REUTERS) FEATHER DRESS BEING DESIGNED ON TABLET
- Embargoed: 21st July 2020 17:26
- Keywords: Alexis Mabille Dior Julien Fournie Maria Grazia Chiuri Paris Stephane Rolland fashion week haute couture luxury
- Location: PARIS, FRANCE/ UNKNOWN FILMING LOCATION
- City: PARIS, FRANCE/ UNKNOWN FILMING LOCATION
- Country: France
- Topics: Arts / Culture / Entertainment,Fashion
- Reuters ID: LVA005CLT9HZB
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: PLEASE NOTE: EDITS 6046-FASHION-PARIS/HAUTE COUTURE-PREVIEW AND 1034-FASHION-PARIS/HAUTE COUTURE-DIOR CONTAIN IMAGES AND SOUNDBITES RELATED TO HAUTE COUTURE WEEK
Haute couture designers felt the weight of the coronavirus crisis, but it did not stop them from creating.
The lockdown was a "big period of anxiety" for French couturier Stephane Rolland, who leaned on government aid to make sure none of his employees would get fired.
"This was an anxiety that I felt day and night," he said, adding that he tried getting on a vacation mindset, but he could not stop thinking about the global health emergency.
"I protected myself by way of creating. For me it was an escape. At some point, my head went elsewhere, and so I started to draw, draw, draw. And that's how the collection was done," he said.
Rolland, like his peers, unveiled his collection at Paris's Haute Couture showcase this week - an online-only format, while fashion shows are temporarily suspended.
Couture labels, which sell a small number of outfits to the uber-rich, are unsure when their clients will be able to travel again or what demand will be as the pandemic rattles economies the world over.
Dior creative director Maria Grazia Chiuri was in Rome when the COVID crisis spread in Italy.
"At one point, I decided to listen to the news for only one hour a day because the risk was that I would spend a lot of time in front of the TV," Chiuri said.
She gathered a small team to work with Italian director Matteo Garrone on the Dior film, relying on her daughter for office tasks.
"For the other people of the atelier, to work, to have a project to make together was helpful," she said.
Julien Fournie, a French couturier who spent lockdown largely centred on his Paris atelier, said he was even relieved to have a moment to create a collection without distractions.
"For the past decade, I was like a hamster on a wheel who didn't stop running," Fournie said, ahead of unveiling his looks, which include flowing silk gowns with kimono-style sleeves.
Confronted with problems in fabric deliveries and embroidery supplier closures during France's coronavirus lockdown, fashion designer Alexis Mabille had to improvise to salvage his next collection, turning to materials he had at hand.
"I worked in the opposite direction - instead of working on the design, the material and the colour, I started from the colour of the fabric and then the collection," Mabille told Reuters, adding that he had sought to project a "bright view on things" with dresses in vivid purple and saffron yellow, with intricate sequins and handmade lace.
Haute Couture Week features one-of-a-kind outfits stitched by hand, presented by a select club of designers.
Even for the biggest brands with huge means, however, Europe-wide lockdowns proved a challenge.
Maria Grazia Chiuri, who designs womenswear for Christian Dior, owned by the LVMH conglomerate, coordinated her collection from Rome via video calls with seamstresses and production teams working at home.
The label also faced some lost or delayed deliveries as it tried to bring its concept for a collection presented on mini-mannequins together - and Chiuri said she had had to readjust to life without office staff.
Dior's teams of tailors and seamstresses - all wearing face masks - came together in early July to put the final touches on looks in the brand's atelier in Paris.
(Production: Michaela Cabrera, Clotaire Achi, Melodie Sforza, Thierry Chiarello, Rali Benallou)
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
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