As countries around the world begin to prepare for post-pandemic life, with European countries like The Netherlands, Germany and Denmark lifting certain lockdown measures, the impact of the health crisis continues to be felt in all sectors of industry. From travel to manufacturing, healthcare to self-care, our economies have been turned upside down—and yet it’s an interesting time to notice the what kinds of products and services keep our world occupied in a time when we’re not allowed to do much. Here’s INDIE’s weekly roundup of everything happening in fashion, with or without COVID-19.
Everyone was invited to the Met Gala
The first Monday in May is no ordinary day in fashion calendars, and is usually pretty booked up by the exclusive and legendary Met Gala. An annual celebration of the Metropolitan Museum’s Costume Institution, the event is a star-studded extravaganza, with some of fashion’s most iconic looks adorned on its red carpet. However, with COVID-19 making it impossible for the museum to host the event, the Met Gala decided to carry on—online. The digital preview, with this year’s theme “About Time: Fashion and Duration,” consists of interviews, animations of new photography as well as information about the Gala from previous years. Perhaps more exciting was the IG #MetGalaChallenge. This social media challenge urged fans at home to recreate their favourite/most memorable looks from previous years and the winner would be selected by none other than fashion’s ultimate icon, Billy Porter. The winner would be showcased on @metmuseum @metcostumeinstitute as well as @voguemagazine. Although plans for the actual opening of the exhibit are up for discussion, there is something to be enjoyed in the accessibility of this year’s Met despite us missing the sneaky bathroom smoking scenes.
Judi Dench made Vogue history
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Dame Judi Dench, aged 85, has made Vogue history by becoming the oldest cover star on British Vogue. Although the cover was photographed back in February, by Nick Knight, the interview was conducted over the phone right at the beginning of corona chaos in the UK. The interview gives us an insight, keeping our pandemic in the background, into her dislike for ageing and her struggles coming to terms with it as well as her distaste for the term national treasure. Say what you might, but celebrating the 85th year of her life with a Vogue cover—not to mention the Carpe Diem tattoo from Dench’s 81st birthday!—makes her very, very cool in our eyes.
Commes des Garçons icon Michelle Elie opened her collection
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It would not be an overstatement to claim that Michelle Elie is one of Commes des Garçon’s biggest fans—or rather Rei Kawakubo’s biggest fan. The American-Haitian jewellery designer is also one of the brand’s biggest collectors and now she’s getting an exhibit dedicated to her perfectly curated collection. Frankfurt’s Angewandte Kunst Museum has reopened its doors this week with the striking exhibit ‘Life Doesn’t Frighten me: Michelle Elie wears Commes des Garçon’. With 50 mannequins, each adorned in a Kawakubo piece from Elie’s personal collection, the exhibit is an attempt by Elie to understand what happens to runway collections once they’ve made it through a fashion show or done being photographed for a magazine. “What happens to these items when they reach the rack?” She asks. The exhibit runs until August 31st, after which Elie hopes the exhibit can travel to other cities as well.
Animal Crossing got the Marc Jacobs treatment
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Marc Jacobs is getting involved with the game that won lockdown, Animal Crossing, by recreating six of his favourite looks in collaboration with the IG account @AnimalCrossingFashionArchive. For those of you—who like us— have been apparently quarantining under a rock, Animal Crossing is the Nintendo game dating back to 2001, that made a huge comeback recently. The game is focused around creating your own fantasy home/world but we’ve seen people recreate everything from store fronts and music videos to full fashion bootleg looks. In the unlicensed gaming world of alternative realities, working in collaboration with millennial hobbies—especially when there is very little to otherwise occupy us—could reap in great rewards.
J.Crew fell from fashion
J. Crew files for bankruptcy, the first national retail casualty of the coronavirus pandemic https://t.co/YpCb0swEl2
— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) May 4, 2020
J.Crew became the first big American retailer to take a hard swing from the COVID-19 pandemic and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The news, which broke on Monday, makes it the first fashion chain forced to resort to extreme measures, but unfortunately, it doesn’t look like it will be the last. The brand, which apparently is Michelle Obama’s favourite, was best known for its preppy, all-American aesthetic—but behind every teenage girl’s closet staples was a looming $1.65 billion debt. Although the company hasn’t announced how it will reopen post corona, the group’s chief executive (responsible for J. Crew and Madewell) Jan Singer stated, “As we look to reopen our stores as quickly and safely as possible, this comprehensive financial restructuring should enable our business and brands to thrive for years to come.” Although personally it is one more retailer we won’t miss, the larger implications of high-street brands being forced into bankruptcy leaves us feeling pretty disconcerted.