The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic may have made shut-ins of all of us, but that doesn’t mean that inspiration and wonder should be shut out too.
Quite the opposite: as social distancing discourages us from being, well, social, it’s more important than ever to keep our spirits up.
Fashion fans, though, may now find that we have a dearth of options to turn to. After all, the Cruise 2021 fashion shows have been cancelled, the Met Gala is indefinitely postponed, and luxury brands are busy making face masks instead of designer handbags. In other words, fashion, like the rest of the world, has come to a standstill. So, what can you do?
For starters, you could while away your time in quarantine on TikTok, newly populated by models like Kaia Gerber and Bella Hadid. You could get your culture fix from Bottega Veneta’s new initiative. Or you could even try your hand at cooking, if you’re feeling experimental. But for something more tailored to your fashion needs, read on.
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There’s more to Netflix than dating shows and comedy TV series. You can learn a thing or two by streaming fashion biopics centred on notable industry figures like Jeremy Scott and Franca Sozzani, the late editor in chief of Italian Vogue.
If you want a look inside the industry itself, there’s The Devil Wears Prada (duh) and The Phantom Thread, a breathtaking piece of cinema that revolves around a couturier based on Cristóbal Balenciaga and Charles James.
There are even more options outside of Netflix. Unzipped and The September Issue are must-see classics, but you can also explore the creative worlds of Alexander McQueen, Dries Van Noten and Yohji Yamamoto. There’s also the Raf Simons-focused Dior and I, but make sure you have tissues with you. And since this year’s Met Gala has been postponed, why not relive the one in 2015 through The First Monday in May?
If you want to know more about the aforementioned Franca Sozzani, you can explore her legacy through past issues of Vogue Italia, now free to access until 13 June. That’s almost three months of fashion reading, sorted.
Simply follow the instructions (translated in English too) on the fashion publication’s website to find out how you can get an account. Once you do, you can browse digital versions of iconic issues like the All Black Issue (July 2008), featuring Naomi Campbell, Tyra Banks, Alek Wek and more black models. You will also be able to look up any designer, brand and photographer through the Vogue Italia Archive website, which contains high-res scans of every issue from 1964 to present.
And for bonus reading material, click here to enjoy the all-new March 2020 issue of Vogue Paris.
Speaking of fashion archives, did you know that are a wealth of Instagram pages dedicated to them?
There may be no upcoming fashion shows to look forward to, but you can still delight in the beauty and wonder of past shows by Givenchy, Chanel, Christian Lacroix and more on @unforgettable_runway. Also drawing from 1980s, 1990s and 2000s fashion is @archiving.stacks, which highlights rarer and lesser-known catwalk moments.
Some accounts have more specific interests. Every Alexander McQueen fan should follow @mcqueen_vault, stat. The account painstakingly preserves the British designer’s universe through museum pieces, old magazine editorials and runway shows.
If you want to explore John Galliano’s Dior reign beyond Saddle bags and newspaper prints, head to @diorinthe2000s. @tomfordforgucci, meanwhile, focuses on a time before Alessandro Michele’s maximalist era at the Italian house. You should also check out @thierrymugler_archives, which chronicles the work of Kim Kardashian’s favourite designer.
You’ve seen the collections, now go behind the scenes of designing them through the many fashion podcasts available to stream for free. Unearth treasures like interviews with John Galliano, Alessandro Michele and even the late Karl Lagerfeld, or listen to inspiring anecdotes from their celebrity muses.
Aside from audio series from luxury fashion brands, there are also independent podcasts that explore fashion history and style. You’ll come out of this quarantine smarter — sartorially, of course.
Museums around the world have closed for the time being, but they’ve also opened up virtual tours of their vast exhibitions. The National Gallery of Victoria, for example, has made its Commes des Garçons exhibition available for digital public viewing. If you missed the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum’s Balenciaga and Spanish Paintings exhibition, fret not: it’s now online as well. So, too, is the National Gallery of Art’s rich archive of American fashion visuals.