It’s safe to say that lockdown has sparked a small change in our relationship with our wardrobes and fashion as a whole. Loungewear is having another moment, our handbags are practically hermits, and we’re browsing the interweb instead of clothes racks.
However, with such lifestyles changes come a string of opportunities—both for creative organisations, institutions and fashion-loving individuals. Brands are given a blank digital canvas on which to extend themselves on, continuing or creating new experiences that surprise, delight, educate and inspire. As for us fashion lovers, our sparse schedules give us ample time to indulge in these creations.
From podcasts to talks, virtual exhibitions and backstage sneak peeks, there’s an online treasure trove of virtual fashion culture waiting to be discovered. So park the banana bread and docu-series about big cats, because we’ve curated the best fashion culture fixes you can find for free online. Fellow fashion lovers, prepare to elevate your quarantine entertainment and be enchanted by the local and international creativity at our fingertips.
Fashion in Focus Podcast — Showroom 22
Let’s start with a fabulous homegrown initiative: Showroom 22’s Fashion in Focus podcast. Taking its name and theme after a series of successful talks of the same name held in March last year, this podcast is a beacon of local fashion inspiration. Showroom 22’s Director Murray Bevan and journalist India Leishman invite a host of New Zealand designers, stylists and creatives to open dialogue about all aspects of the local and international scene. For the finer details and inside scoop on the podcasts, pop over to our editor’s interview with Murray, otherwise head to Podbean, iTunes or Spotify to get listening.
Collecting Comme — Virtual Exhibition by NGV Australia
Crossing the Tasman now to Melbourne’s iconic National Gallery of Victoria. Deciding to close this iconic gallery mid March in the middle of a coveted exhibition—Collecting Comme—was a monumental decision for the gallery and fashion fans. After all, it’s not every day that one gets to marvel at the striking and sculptural garments Rei Kawakubo designed for Comme des Garçons. However, in the spirit of sharing inspiration, the NGV is hosting free virtual tours of the Collecting Comme exhibition via their website. Not just any tours, this immersive 3D experience gives you full access to the exhibition and allows you to get up and a detailed look at every Comme des Garçons garment on display and interesting exhibition labels that accompany them.
Dior Talks — Podcast by Dior
Pairing two wonderful pillars of contemporary culture—feminism and fashion—in a timely series of podcasts is Dior. The iconic Parisian fashion house has kept modern femininity at the core of its being since it’s inception in 1946, and is standing by it’s legacy once again. This time, Dior Talks’ first series sees collaborators, muses and friends of the brand join host Katy Hessel discuss feminism theory, art and fashion and the complex links they share. Creative Director, Maria Grazia Chiuri headlines the first episode as she talks about the role of feminist art in her career, while Judy Chicaco Paolo Ugolini and a range of iconic women join the line up in following episodes.
Prada Possible Conversations
Another series of fashion-focused conversations has been launched by Prada, with their ‘Possible Conversations’ series (a name playfully riffed of Schiaparelli & Prada’s Impossible Conversations). This initiative is a series of online talks, held on Instagram Live, that touch on all things related to art, fashion, architecture, cinema and thoughts. Not only are these talks designed to provoke thoughts around creativity, they’re also meant to connect lovers of creativity around the world and provide a timely forum to “evaluate the impact of the moment in which we live”. The first talk, which is aptly named ‘Fashion in Times of Crises’ kicks off at 6.00pm CET on 14th April (4.00am New Zealand time), so we’ll be sure to catch up on IGTV.
Sarabande Sessions — Sarabande Foundation
Alexander McQueen’s foundation, Sarabande Foundation is also contributing to the growing lineup of virtual fashion-focused talks, having made them accessible online for the occasion. There’s a lot to love about their ‘Sarabande Sessions’, from the creative-centric topics they cover to the star-studded selection of speakers discussing them. Recent recorded talks include conversations with curator Andrew Bolton on the 2019 ‘Camp: Notes on Fashion’ exhibition and costume design with oscar-winning designer Colleen Atwood and actor Eddie Redmayne. Better yet, the list of talks and even tutorials are ever growing, making it the perfect platform to tune into whenever you might need a creative pick me up.
Five MoMu Stories You Should Read! — MoMu Antwerp
Home to outstanding Belgian designers, namely the legendary Antwerp Six, Antwerp is known as the small but mighty powerhouse of the fashion world. The city’s dedicated fashion museum, MoMu, is no exception. While they closed their doors for renovations prior to lockdown, MoMu is keeping fashion lovers around the world inspired with their curation of Five Online Stories series. It highlights quirky noteworthy items in their archive (from historic runway invites to a Dries Van Noten chocolate bar), shares fashion-focused videos and revisits some iconic exhibitions with detailed photographs and notes. In true Antwerpian style, the curation and website is aesthetic, inspiring, quirky, yet incredibly informative. Their website’s ‘Stories’ section is also worth a regular visit for both local and international fashion musings.
Fashion & Textiles Series — Victoria and Albert Museum, London
The V&A is offering us fashionphiles the chance to sink our teeth into each and every aspect of fashion, thanks to their Fashion & Textiles series. These specially-curated, bite-sized videos on YouTube will fill viewers with all kinds of fashion-related content, highlighting noteworthy items in their collections, fashion themes, garment creation and conservation or aspects of the creative process. For those skilled with a sewing machine, there’s even sewing tutorials for an extra touch of #isolationcreation inspiration.
Online Collections — Musee Galliera
Only ever opening for special, one-off exhibitions, one was lucky to catch an exhibition at Paris’ dedicated fashion museum—Musee Galliera—at the best of times. Always open, on the contrary, is it’s whimsical and extensive online collections. Browse their extensive collections for inspiration and information on the likes of haute couture, undergarments, accessories, drawings and fashion photography. Or take a fashionable trip back in time and visit the 18th, 19th century or contemporary departments. Whichever theme you wander into (and believe us, it’s easy to fall deep, down the fashion rabbit-hole here), you’ll find plenty of information and commentary next to each garment, and even the occasional link to the runway show it was involved in.
New Zealand Fashion Museum
Of course, no curation of online culture platforms is complete without a mention of our homegrown New Zealand Fashion Museum. Browsing through their extensive online collection is like deep-diving into an exquisite treasure trove of wearable treasures collected throughout New Zealand’s history. Hours upon hours can easily be spent exploring the archives— where you can even filter by specific eras, garment types and details to satisfy a particular fashion curiosity. Whichever section of this enchanting collection captures your eye, it will certainly provide a strong splash of lockdown sartorial inspiration.