Julien Fournie, the French fashion designer, first learned to wear a pair of scissors, then to draw a dress on an iPad. Now, the global pandemic has forced him, as a movie director, to learn new skills.
Paris Haute Couture Week is typically a riot of runway shows in sumptuous locations where the fashion crowd gathers. COVID-19 this year means most live events are off.
Instead, several designers have switched to video for the week, which officially started on Monday and runs until Jan. 28, to highlight their collections.
A 45-year-old who runs his own couture company, Fournie spent three days in his Paris workshop shooting a 9 minute and 30 second video, starring himself, some of his employees, and three models.
“We designers have to reinvent ourselves endlessly,” he said in a break from filming. “We have to know how to sew, to design, to manage social networks.” That meant it was not a major leap to step into a new medium to show his set, he said.
“It’s an incredible opportunity in our times to be able to reinvent yourself during COVID, to be the director of your own destiny, to stage your own universe.”
The film features women dressed in goose feather costumes and multicoloured organza fabric, traveling with a Middle Eastern flavor through a fantasy world. The bulk of the customers for Fournie are from the Middle East.
Customers want fewer lavish designs because of the global pandemic, because the parties where the outfits will be worn these days are more modest and personal, the designer said.
His workers had to adjust, too. Employees iron the dresses after a customer has visited to try on an outfit. “The heat eliminates bacteria and viruses,” said one of Fournie’s senior workers, Lea Gelenan.