In light of the current global pandemic we are seeing the calendar of Fashion Week intelligently adapt to provide the front row experience through digital shows and activations. Innovation has become the name of the game.
This year has caused the entire world to pause. Our routines and lives had to change drastically and as we continue to feel the effects from COVID-19, the way we work and live must adapt to this new normal.
We are learning from the past and taking action to create a better future – in a society where there is limited travelling and restrictions on socialising with friends and family.
For the first time, Czech designer, Jiri Kalfar made the decision to present his collection live in Prague, allowing the audience to stream the show on-line and on social media.
This was a stark reminder of what a difference a few months can make since the last time I saw a stunning Jiri Kalfar collection on the runway. I was sitting in the audience during London Fashion Week in an intimate setting to see his Autumn/Winter 2020 collection in the heart of London.
The show’s invitation cleverly contained a pair of VR glasses and QR code to watch the show from the comfort of home.
For this season, Kalfar’s Spring Summer 21 Collection was live-streamed on as part of Mercedes-Benz Prague Fashion Week
Speaking on the show Kalfar said “This is our first show in Prague since 2016, for my previous seasons I have showcased as part of both LFW and NYFW. I have been focussed on the idea of the international audience still being able to be present and immersed in the experience of a real catwalk show. Since the beginning of lockdown, I have explored numerous different options of how to best stay connected and create that immersive experience for my audience.”
“Then the idea of presenting the show in virtual reality came to me as the result – for this collection we have created VR glasses which are compatible with any smartphone and that allow you to be transformed to the venue, have your seat and really watch the show live without the risk of travel. In this ever-changing world, I believe that this is also a step forward to a more sustainable way of showcasing as well.”
For Spring/Summer 2021 Jiri Kalfar dreams of the blank canvas of a new world. Simpler and fair. The Spring/Summer collection is just that.
A blank canvas – the entire collection is pure white, created using fully organic and cruelty-free materials such as Buddhist ahimsa silk, vegan leather, pineapple and mushroom leather, vintage lace and banana thread to name just a few. It is important to note that all garments are also made-in-house following a zero-waste policy.
The show did not disappoint, in a season of intense virtuality, it was an uplifting relief to be again so close to cloth, froth and the elegance of models again.
Fluid, delicate pieces were draped on both female and male models, providing there was a fusion of softness and sensuality through sheer and strategic cutouts, with a hint of Victorian sensibility through the extensive use of vintage lace paired with lustrous silk.
Whites and creams took centre stage for the season, with cuts of black providing a contrast with lace details and appliqué, creating a beautiful texture and silhouette. Sophisticated, sexy and modern. Kalfar’s ability to create dreamy experience is unique, transporting viewers to a magical place, lost in his designs.
Kalfar has shown time and time again how luxury, craftsmanship and awareness of environmental responsibility can come together to create incredible collections.
He has shown that a fully sustainable and organic collection can be on-trend and beautiful, as well as being a representation of a positive shift in the fashion industry.
The world has changed in a matter of months, and it is necessary now more than ever to take responsibility and make a positive change – Kalfar continues to lead this charge and stand by the philosophy of ethical and sustainable fashion. It’s more imperative now than it ever has been.
So where does this leave is on the future of fashion shows?
The physical fashion show form has lasted for decades because it works so well and gives you that almost tangible experience. Indeed there have been occasional attempts at change the narrative, mostly via seasonal “films”. Generally that’s because they prioritise mood and concept over being able to see the telling detail, or material essence, of a garment. It’s in that detail and essence that individual desire lies.
Moving forward as we adapt to a new way of life there is an opportunity now to provide a different solution. What it demands though is not just recreating events, but rethinking them entirely and Jiri Kalfar did just that, with an exceptional touch of class.
Words – Remi Akande