This month’s Paris Fashion Week goes totally digital

PARIS (AP) — Ending the confusion over the fate of Paris Fashion Week, French fashion’s regulatory body has said that this month’s Paris men’s and haute couture shows will be strictly audience-free over coronavirus fears.

The Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode has told luxury houses they won’t be allowed to invite guests this season, after instruction by police.

In a statement to The Associated Press, the federation said Monday that “we confirm that there can be no public gatherings” at Paris Fashion Week, adding that “houses can still organize ‘real’ runway shows with models broadcast live, provided that their events take place behind closed doors.”

Although Paris is technically not in a lockdown, stringent restrictions limiting movements are in place nationwide, including a 6 p.m. or 8 p.m. curfew. Repeated failure to obey rules can lead to a six-month prison sentence.

France’s second lockdown ended Dec. 15, but restaurants, bars, cinemas, theaters and museums remain shuttered.

In respect to Milan Fashion Week, despite the best efforts of the Italian fashion council to maintain a minimum level of live shows, top brands have also opted to show their collections with no guests, journalists or photographers present.

The Lombardy region, where Milan is located, appears headed to another partial lockdown.

Fendi, Dolce&Gabbana and Etro all have said their shows won’t include guests. They were among four brands planning live shows this round. Representatives for K-way, the maker of high-end outdoor clothing that is scheduled to show, didn’t respond to requests for comment.

The Milan Fashion Week calendar from Jan. 15-19 is much scaled back from usual, with just 40 brands participating.

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