Physical Shows Boosted the Online Audience for Paris Fashion Week

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The return of physical fashion show in Paris attracted large crowds outside the runway venues — and the enthusiasm was also echoed on the internet.

The online platform for the Paris Fashion Week that ended on March 8, showcasing womenswear collections for fall 2022, registered a 90 percent increase in unique visitors to 456,000; a 72 percent gain in page views to 1.4 million, and a 97 percent jump in media impact value to $260 million, according to data released by the Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode and its digital partner, Launchmetrics, the architect of its website.

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“The physical attractiveness has been amplified by the digital resonance,” Pascal Morand, executive president of the federation, told WWD in an interview Tuesday. “Beyond the fact that the platform is useful, it is somehow mandatory.…We are just at the beginning of the digital revolution.”

The data underscores that IRL fashion shows have been a boon to the federation’s online portal, which hosts livestreams, pre-recorded show videos or creative films, replays of IRL shows and an array of editorial content that is open to fashion professionals and the general public alike.

Morand said the six official fashion weeks in Paris in 2021 — two each for womenswear, menswear and haute couture — attracted about 1 million unique visitors to its platform.

By comparison, the first three fashion weeks of 2022 have already attracted 706,000 unique visitors, 2.4 million page views and a media impact value of 359 million euros, which suggests that online and physical showcases are complimentary — and synergistic.

Launchmetrics’ proprietary media impact value figure tallies the impact of relevant media placements on all channels (online, social and print), inclusive of paid, owned and earned mediums.

“The media impact value is stronger when you have physical shows,” Morand explained. “We are really in a phy-gital world with a complementarity between creative expression and communications.”

He noted that the weight of social-media channels is growing on MIV, accounting for about 60 percent of the totals and reflecting the importance of influencers and celebrities.

The 2022 figures to date encompass 201 fashion shows and presentations registered in the official calendars of the federation for the three Paris fashion weeks — and they reflect the gradual return of physical shows as the Omicron wave that gripped Europe in December and January began to ebb (although cases are now increasing in Europe once again with the Ba2 variant).

“There has been a progression,” Morand noted. “We see the biggest impact is due to the comeback of physical shows and physical presentations and physical events.”

Unique visitors to the federation website for the menswear shows, which took place from Jan. 18 to 23, rose 4 percent versus a year ago to 156,000 unique visitors.

According to Morand, the dearth of physical shows weighed on the numbers. The men’s week featured 17 physical shows and 29 physical presentations, while 30 brands and designers opted for digital-only formats.

Meanwhile, page views for the men’s week climbed 46 percent to 205,000 views, while media impact value, or MIV, advanced 28 percent to 50.6 million euros.

Haute Couture Week in Paris, held from Jan. 24 to 27, generated a 22 percent increase in unique visitors to 94,000, while page views vaulted 95 percent to 389,000. MIV, meanwhile, dipped 33 percent to 48 million versus the year-ago January.

According to Launchmetrics, the dip in MIV reflects a deliberate decision by brands to spend less on their own social media and communication channels, and smaller shows that accommodated fewer influencers, but slightly more celebrities.

The January 2022 couture shows in Paris featured 16 physical events, roughly double the number the previous July.

The federation credits a network of broadcasting partners, including YouTube, CNN, TikTok and Facebook, plus a dedicated presence on such Chinese networks as Tencent Video and Weibo, for amplifying the reach of its content.

Launchmetrics tallies also point to Paris as the preeminent fashion week in terms of media impact value at $260 million versus $171 million for Milan, $117 million for New York and $40.4 million for London.


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