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Who said fashion is dead? The big parties are back on

Two of the biggest extravaganzas, the New York fashion week and the Met Gala, will soon return in-person

Models pose during the Rebecca Minkoff Spring 2021 presentation for the New York Fashion Week: The Shows on 16 February in New York City.
Models pose during the Rebecca Minkoff Spring 2021 presentation for the New York Fashion Week: The Shows on 16 February in New York City. (AFP)

New York's Fashion Week is anticipating a return to in-person runway shows in September, after two previous editions that were largely virtual because of the coronavirus pandemic, the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) has announced.

The plan for events on 8-12 September depends on local restrictions linked to the ongoing health crisis, said the CFDA, which noted some designers may opt to keep their presentations online.

The vast majority of shows held during the past two fashion weeks in February and last September were virtual, with just a few designers including Christian Siriano and Rebecca Minkoff strategizing to show in person.

The CFDA encouraged online presentations to avoid coronavirus-related risks.

Encouraged by New York's ongoing vaccination campaign, the CFDA's CEO, Steven Kolb, said "we look forward to a strong fashion season that celebrates the best of American fashion in both physical and digital presentation formats."

This time, fashion week will culminate with the Met Gala, a star-studded benefit that coincides with the Met's Costume Institute exhibit, on 13 September.

The extravagant event normally held the first Monday in May will take place on a smaller scale in September 2021 before another ball the following spring.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art has announced the annual sartorial exhibit would happen in two parts, with the first show entitled "In America: A Lexicon of Fashion" opening 18 September to celebrate The Costume Institute's 75th anniversary.

The second exhibit, "In America: An Anthology of Fashion", will kick off 5 May, 2022. Both will run until 5 September of that year.

And with two shows, comes two parties.

The Met and Costume Institute Benefit trustee Anna Wintour, the longtime editor-in-chief of Vogue, postponed 2020's normally star-studded bash over the covid-19 pandemic.

The new schedule banks on the notion that restrictions will ease as more Americans get vaccinated, more than 56 million in the US are fully immunized, and that the glitterati will be hungry for a renewed social scene.

Part one's opening in September will close fashion week, which could mark a runway homecoming for many designers forced online.

The Met said that fall "benefit" on 13 September would be a more intimate affair, while the 2022 gala on 2 May could see a return to the over-the-top looks that feature when celebrity and fashion collide.

Instagram is the primary financial backer behind the exhibitions, fitting for the annual event that usually sees social media glow with wild outfits and red carpet stunts.

Plans for extravagance as much of the US and the world is still reeling from the coronavirus pandemic risks criticism, but the primary reason for holding two benefits is likely financial.

The Costume Institute relies on the Met Gala to fund its work including exhibitions and acquisitions, and the cancellation of last year's event created a fiscal gap for the museum branch that must pay for itself.

The exhibits themselves will see Costume Institute curator Andrew Bolton continue to explore broad themes, "Camp," Catholicism and China were among the focuses in recent years, rather than offer retrospectives of a specific designer.

The two-part show will assess the state of American fashion, its contemporary players, the industry's identity, and important figures the rarified world of fashion may have overlooked or left out.

Bolton said the exhibit's first stage would focus on modernizing fashion vocabulary in connection with "equity, diversity, and inclusion", as part two would see collaborations with American filmmakers to "further investigate the evolving language of American fashion."

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