Fashion coverage has been understandably very different since the onset of COVID-19 and isolation, given the dearth of parties, front rows, red carpet gala events, and a lack of paparazzi street photography in general as the celebrities-and-style set have been confined to their quarters.
Out of habit, I still look online for my daily fashion fix, but it’s increasingly difficult to get inspired by an actress getting coffee in Birkenstocks, and I cannot read one more piece on luxury loungewear or what to wear on a Zoom call. At this stage of COVID-anxiety, they’re lucky if you log on at all.
These are tough times for fashion writers who still have a job, as there are only so many times we can cheerfully mention athleisure and cute designer face masks to the poor individual who has just been put into lockdown, again, before they want to strangle us.
Gone are the days of quaffing champagne at fashion parties or the ready to wear shows and recommending the Russian Empire, Daleks and/or Kim Kardashian for inspiration or trying to bring back the corset.
The excess of the ready to wear shows had been called into question in the past several years, and due to the pandemic, many of them, including top houses such as Dior and Prada, have been streamed virtually. I tried to read a very lengthy and earnest review of the recent Prada show which was apparently shot by five different photographers and titled “The Show That Never Happened” and couldn’t make it to the end of the piece because my ability to concentrate never happened.
A written review of a virtual show makes you so removed from the actual clothes it’s hard to make any sense of it, nor do you get that lovely sense of joy and emotion a great runway show can inspire.
Fashion is such an intrinsic and enjoyable part of life; you want to be in it, out amongst it, not assessing it from your couch or trying to unpack the relevance of a video.
Take away the pageantry (and some would say insanity) of fashion, and then try to review it. You veer straight into the realm of reality, which gets quite dull at about 300 words and is certainly not a world the fashion critic ever wants to inhabit.
You have to hand it to the ingenuity of the dogged online writers who have managed to make me click through on “Check out the inspired shoe choice that Emily Ratajkowski put with her perfect summer slip dress” to discover she was wearing white sandshoes. I needed that two minutes of my life back.
But for the moment at least, practicality has replaced performance art.
I’m confident that designers are spending lockdown dreaming up new and exotic offerings to be shown on real life runways next season, which is something to look forward to, for with beauty there is hope.
Meanwhile, we can go back to battling this crisis the best we can for the present. In our sandshoes.