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Modelling in the Era of Closed-Door Runway Shows: The Importance of Being Flexible.

By Cini Arianna, Student of Moodart Fashion School

Italian fashion designer Giorgio Armani held his Women’s Fall/Winter 20/21 fashion show behind closed doors and chose to present his collection inside his empty showroom due to the concerns raised on the Coronavirus emergency.

It was a last-minute change that the fashion house revealed the day before the show, affirming that the decision was taken to preserve the safety and the the well-being of all Armani’s invited guests by not putting them at risk in a crowded space.

The location remained the same of the previous shows of the fashion designer. The iconic Teatro Armani, the custom-built show space that the brand owns in Via Bergognone in Milano, hosted the show that had been streamed online on the company’s website and on Instagram’s and Facebook’s pages.

In the backstage of the show, everything was quite easy and relaxed, with less stress compared to a normal catwalk, but it’s interesting to consider the point of view of the models that took part to the unique fashion show.

We interviewed Tani Birkin (@petit_birkin on instagram), an Ukrainian model working for different international model agencies. She starred in the runway shows of international brands like Armani, Vivienne Westwood, Manish Arora, Benetton and Dolce&Gabbana and her photo shooting were published on renowned magazines like L’Officiel Ukraine and The Kunst Mag. During the quarantine’s lockdown she also posed for the last Pull&Bear online campaign #StayAtHome in March 2020. 

Tani Birkin was born in 1999 and as a model she already went through many interesting experiences. Between all of them, the one she enjoyed more was that Armani’s Womenswear collection for Fall Winter 2020 in February.

Birkin described it as a “total oddness”.

The day of the show, all the models received a phone call and they were requested to arrive at the show one hour earlier. They were requested to wear safety masks and shoe covers, but none of them knew about the new criteria chosen for the runway show until the arrival of Giorgio Armani.

He explained the situation in person, highlighting that the absence of public didn’t change the concept of the show, that would have been “amazing as always”. The model said there was a growing sense of anxiety, but the kind and professional words of the designer allow them to keep calm and to perform as always. “This man knows how to encourage someone” she said.

As the closed-door show started there was still a frustrating feeling of emptiness. It was an unusual situation and for the model it was even difficult to walk, as she never experienced a weird situation like that and she didn’t feel completely at ease.

Just at the end she understood the power and the amazing intention and spirit behind it, and felt really thankful to take part to this Armani show, very different but for sure one of a kind.

Tani is another professional of the fashion industry that during the lockdown developed her personal point of view regarding one of the most discussed topics nowadays: the future of fashion.

She agrees with the words that Giorgio Armani pronounced during one of his latest interviews: “This crisis is an opportunity to slow down and realign everything; to define a more meaningful landscape”.

Birkin knows that even if the process of slowing down in the fashion industry would affect her career and also her earnings, we have to start to be more conscious about the world we live in and “we absolutely have to alter our commitment (or even obsession) to fashion.”


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