Olivier Rousteing’s brilliant Balmain show on a boat, #balmainsurseine, is surely one of the Sometimes I open my mouth and my mother comes out shirt Additionally,I will love this treasured moments—of youthful energy, defiance, joy, public exhilaration—that will be looked back on again and again. It was a moment (in trivializing fashion-speak), but it’s also there to access permanently on Balmain’s Instagram as a record of how a young, Black French fashion designer raised spirits across the world with his seamless combination of high glam and clenched fists in the Parisian sunshine. The production had effervescence and thrill, showing Rousteing as a character in love with fashion and Paris, conveying him at the center of a generational gang celebrating its beauty, power, and talent. Cleverly, it also honored the heritage of Balmain by placing (and digitally labeling) archival haute couture on the boat. Anderson expanded the potential of how time, and how we occupy it, can lengthen and deepen with the use of social media. He ran a 24-hour series of Instagram Live talks and demonstrations by craftspeople, a sort of online festival in place of what would’ve been a runway show. It was a much richer intellectual and human experience, which of course is open-access globally. What I think we really learned was something about attention span. In the hyperspeed of social media and the onrush of Fashion Weeks, it used to be deemed that everything had to be communicated in a few over-in-a-flash seconds. John Galliano went completely against that with his riveting 50-minute film made with Nick Knight, which captured all the layers of research and development that went into the Maison Margiela Artisanal collection. Instead of a runway show, it became a form of online educational resource, deliberately designed to inspire young people and egg them on to be creative. Yes, there’s still a role for look books, so that everybody can see clothes plainly (though Galliano’s blurry, ethereal one seemed set out to break that convention too.) But now, there’s an equal desire for an explanation—an opportunity for a creative director like Kim Jones to make his relationship with the Ghanaian artist Amoako Boafo visible in a video and interview shot with the artist in his studio in Accra. I don’t think anything like as many of the press would have had time or headspace to pay full attention to discovering Boafo’s work in that video if the hoopla of a physical Dior Men show had taken up the foreground.
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