The fashion industry has undergone a significant transformation due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with luxury labels having to adapt to a new way of communicating and presenting their collections. In the absence of in-person events, fashion brands have turned to digital tools to reach their audience, and one trend that has emerged is the use of video shows.

Division, an international production company known for its work in music and advertising videos, has partnered with various luxury labels, including Saint Laurent, Lanvin, Balmain, Isabel Marant, Etudes, and Y/Project, to create innovative and captivating fashion films. Arno Moria, the co-founder of Division, emphasizes the role of digital technology in driving this revolution, as production companies and fashion labels traditionally had little interaction. However, the pandemic has necessitated a shift towards digital content creation.

Saint Laurent was among the first labels to explore the world of fashion films, showcasing their men’s collection for the summer of 2021 through a stunning short film directed by Nathalie Canguilhem. The film captured acrobatic models on the rooftops of Paris, using fictional and semi-fictional elements to create an immersive experience. This set a precedent for virtual shows, and soon, other luxury labels began developing their own narratives and experimenting with different styles and formats. The fashion industry now has a plethora of possibilities when it comes to storytelling, ranging from documentaries to series to live performances.

Gwendoline Victoria, the head of fashion films and content at Division, views this shift to video shows as a significant development in the language of fashion labels, revolutionizing how they communicate and present their collections and products. Fashion photography used to be the dominant medium, but the crisis and the rise of platforms like Instagram have increased the need for constant novelty and innovation. Films offer a dynamic and engaging way to showcase collections and tell stories, capturing the attention of a wider audience.

Interestingly, producing a fashion film is not necessarily more expensive than staging a traditional catwalk show. The cost can vary from €60,000 to over €600,000, depending on the scale and complexity of the production. Victoria emphasizes that creativity is not dependent on budget and highlights the broader reach of films compared to live shows. Films also provide luxury labels with opportunities beyond the traditional runway, including collection launches, brand messages, and occasion-specific films.

In conclusion, the fashion industry has been forced to reimagine its approach due to the pandemic, leading to a digital revolution in how labels communicate with their audience. Fashion is no longer limited to photography, as the language of the industry now includes the art of filmmaking. This shift has opened up endless possibilities for storytelling and content creation. As suggested by Arno Moria, investing in quality and originality can help labels become publishers in their own right, driving brand conversation and engagement without relying on traditional advertising methods.

Useful links:
Business of Fashion: Dispatches from Fashion Film Festivals
Vogue: How Fashion Films are Evolving