With the coronavirus pandemic still in full force, New York Fashion Week has lost designers, indoor audiences and the exclusive tradition known as the front row.
A front-row seat at fashion week has suddenly lost its allure.
As people around the world are all too familiar with in 2020, the coronavirus pandemic has turned standing far apart from each other from a bit of a faux pas to a necessity. Social distancing has transcended nearly every way of life this year, including the traditionally packed-in industry tradition known as fashion week.
For decades, people have flocked to New York, Milan, Paris and London in honor of the bi-annual event and to participate in the shows in a variety of ways. For some, like designers, models and press, it's an esteemed industry job. For others with a coveted ticket in to sit and watch, it's the most stylish of spectator sports. And, for those stars with a front-row seat, well, it's basically a championship ring—an elusive supreme status symbol in the fashion world.
Much like a time capsule, the front row is a snapshot of the fashion world at any given time and a cheat sheet to the sartorial muses and standout stars of the season. But, amid the pandemic, the exclusive front row as fashionistas have known it for decades is no more…at least for now.
With physical restrictions strictly in place this year in New York City, indoor spectators have been banned and in-person shows are at an extreme minimum on the New York Fashion Week schedule, having been replaced mostly by digital activations. To boot, the pandemic has served as that final push for some designers to forsake the fashion calendar entirely, rethink the current high-pressure structure and set their own order and schedule for how to release their work.
As a result, the celebrity-packed front rows of yesteryear will simply be a memory for 2020. Considering fashion week has only just begun, it's still a bit of a mystery what designers have in store, but if Jason Wu's show on Sunday, Sept. 13 was any indication, audience seats will be in short and distant supply.
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So, in an ode to the star-studded front rows of decades gone by, here's a celebratory digital strut down memory lane:
The world-famous fashionista has been a fashion show front row staple for decades. And, it was always a bonus when the star toted a four-legged friend along.
It's not every day the princess of pop made it to a fashion show, but when she did, it was a front row highlight.
Before they were designers themselves, the twin sisters were front row mainstays at fashion week. And, as is the benefit of visuals, their stylings and Mandy Moore's pixie cut transport us right back to 2004.
Back in 2011, the fashion world was astir when then-breakout star Nicki Minaj was seated next to Anna Wintour at Carolina Herrera's show, making for a visual contrast that sparked headlines.
It doesn't get more New York Fashion Week than famed New York City gal Sarah Jessica Parker taking in the show (and whatever was happening with Valentino Garavani) alongside Andy Cohen.
The front row is not only the place to see and be seen, but to also spot the significant others, like at Diane Von Furstenberg's 2016 show. There, The Weeknd watched from the sidelines as his then-girlfriend Bella Hadid strutted on the catwalk.
Fashion enthusiasts can always count on some designer's eclectic group of celebrity friends and muses to keep things interesting. After all, it's not every day you get to see Cardi B and Molly Shannon in the same vicinity.
The magic of the front row is that you can always be surprised by who has a seat, like that time in February 2018 when Britain's very own monarch showed up to Richard Quinn's show during London Fashion Week.
The front row doesn't exclude A-list tots, like Kim Kardashian and Kanye West's fashionista firstborn North West. As an infant, the famous youngster had already established front-row status.
In 2018, Cardi B was seated next to Vogue Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour at Alexander Wang's show, a major honor for any breakout style star.
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