Paris Fashion Week SS21: are fashion shows dead? The week's summary.

Brand A-ZFashionOctober 07, 2020

Paris Fashion Week has just closed fashion month, and although there were some traditional runway shows, most of the 84 fashion houses chose to present their SS21 collections through digital shows. Could this mean the death of traditional fashion shows?

After much speculation, the shows of Paris Fashion Week SS21 were confirmed almost in the last minute and happened from the 28th September to 8th October in the French capital. We saw at Milan and Paris Fashion Week SS21 that runway shows are still important for many brands, and they will slowly go back to normal.

By performing their live catwalk shows on the internet, luxury fashion houses adapt themselves to the current COVID-19 situation. And despite the low attendance, socially-distanced shows and mandatory face masks at PFW SS21, Paris shows that the show must go on. 

PFW 21 split into presentations and fashion shows.

MFW and PFW SS21 were divided into physical and digital shows. But presenting a collection in physical runway shows and presenting it through photos and films are two very different things. As Dries Van Noten said, “You know how fond I was of fashion shows? The whole collection was built up around the idea of putting it on a catwalk. But this time, it was thinking about clothes for a shoot”. Van Noten found himself in the completely new territory of directing photographs and a film. That was a first in a 34-year career.

A different kind of Paris Fashion Week

PFW SS21 shows were quite a different affair from the past. Instead of seeing the French capital buzzing with fashion editors and buyers, models and fashion enthusiasts, we had runway presentations with little or no audience. 

Additionally, the fab visits to showrooms around the Marais have turned into Zoom meetings and look books on digital platforms. Even so, there was plenty of glamour on the front rows of PFW SS21 runway shows, with the ones like Natalia Vodianova and husband Antoine Arnault, Vanessa Paradis and Caroline de Maigret. Also,  actresses Lea Seydoux and Laura Harrier, and Instagrammers Camille Charrière and the Spanish Blanca Miro, among others, attended the runway shows at PFW SS21.

Some changes in PFW SS21

Since the beginning of the pandemic, there’s been a lot of talk about the role of fashion in the climate crisis and the need for change in the fashion industry, for both brands and consumers. Fashion houses are trying to find new ways of producing and slowing down the frantic pace of fashion shows to be more sustainable. For example, Armani and Versace chose to present fewer looks, showing men and women’s wear together at PFW SS21. Additionally, Comme des Garçons and Saint Laurent pulled out of the event to lead their own rhythm.

Brands that showed at Paris Fashion Week SS21




 Paco Rabanne

Isabel Marant

The newcomers

Gabriela Hearst

Cecilie Bahnsen

Wales Bonner

Although Givenchy is not a newcomer, this was the first collection with Matthew M Williams as creative director after Clare Waight Keller left Givenchy.

PFW SS21 Digital Shows

Dries van Noten



Marine Serre


Thom Browne