The shortened New York Fashion Week 2021 went on despite the Covid-19 pandemic. Fashion designers thought of new ways to root their collections, and several runway shows and events were entirely digital. Other designers, including Alexandra Popescu-York, presented their latest collections outdoors in Manhattan in a covid-safe environment.
Alexandra Popescu-York is one of the designers with a regular presence at NYFW in the past years, every February and September. She talks in an exclusive interview about why this collection is extraordinary, her way of fighting the fear against the Covid-19 virus, or why she chose these particular colours for her new collection.
What is it like doing a fashion show during the pandemic?
From the designer point of view, making a collection during the pandemic is almost impossible. To keep the wheels going, to have the optimistic spirit to create, to have the resources to invest in your collection, show production, marketing and distribution, it’s a lot! The logistics were taken care of by the production company Flying Solo, and they did a fantastic job, like always! They are pioneers in the industry, very organized, and so strong.
How challenging was it doing the fashion show outdoors at minus 1 degree Celsius?
It was tough, but I didn’t feel the cold a bit to tell you the truth. My adrenaline was so high I felt only excitement and accomplishment.
It was challenging to be outside in the cold for more than five minutes. The models probably felt the coldest because they worked six shows, changing at least one per show. I know models that walked in the same day for ten designers, and they did it with grace. That’s what professional models do!
Overall, the models, designers, staff, press, influencers, photographers, all of us are heroes for just being there.
What is the symbolistic behind your new collection?
My collection is a message of vitality and hope. Also, I want to inspire a call to LIFE and a much-needed brightness.
The message could be, “Get up from the dormant state, shake the negativity that’s all around us! Let the sun kiss you, smell the flowers, put on a beautiful dress or outfit, feel comfortable and enjoy your life to the fullest! “
Another message could be “A smile from a friend and a pat on the shoulder saying: It’s going to be OK!”
I add a little irony and humour in my collection, and I think these times need it the most.
This collection is extraordinary because it’s the first one I created since the pandemic started. As an artist, I tend to be very emotional and emphatic with the situation that the whole world is in, and it’s not a “pink” one. The world is suffering, and I cannot ignore it.
2020 was a terrible year for humanity. My soul cries for everyone who died in this pandemic, and there were times when I feared for my life and my family’s life.
These being said, I chose to raise and fight in my way. As an artist and designer, I am fighting the fear, and I’m trying to inspire myself and others for a better and beautiful future.
I don’t follow trends, but I always anticipate what will be trendy. As a designer, I feel I have a superpower in this sense.Alexandra Popescu-York, fashion designer
I love the colours that you used, especially fuchsia. How did you decide to pick them?
The message of hope and vitality transpires in bright colours. I used fuchsia, bright pink and purple because I felt they are right for the times to come. It was a huge surprise seeing a few days before the show that WWD magazine and Pantone announced that Fuchsia (Hot Pink) is one of Pantone’s Fall 2021 colour.
I don’t follow trends, but I always anticipate what will be trendy. As a designer, I feel I have a superpower in this sense. (smiling)
What’s your advice for other fashion designers and models during the pandemic?
It’s very hard for everyone. Just be safe, be healthy and strong! This, too, shall pass. Do your thing and try to become better every day. Be the best version of yourself!
Can you see yourself participating in another fashion show at the next NYFW in September 2021?
Yes, of course! The shows are an essential part of my life. They give me a reason to keep going, and they make me feel alive. Besides the fact they are a marketing investment, they are also critical for expressing my life as an artist and a designer. I see fashion and art as some of the most important things in life. Without it, our life would be so dull.
Alexandra Popescu-York is the only international fashion designer who presented her collections twelve seasons in a row at New York Couture Fashion Week, followed by Art Hearts Fashion. Her designs were featured in VOGUE, Bazaar, ELLE or L’OFFICIEL magazine.
Photo credentials: Getty Images