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Paris Fashion Designers Address Coronavirus Concerns

As of now, the shows will continue, with many brands expected to offer face masks.

As the fashion industry’s seasonal flock of travellers headed from Milan to Paris on Sunday and Monday, coronavirus fears came with them.

On Sunday, France’s health minister Olivier Veran said the country would increase its virus testing and monitoring, even though the situation was stable with no new cases reported.

The concern in France may have something to do with the fact that, over the weekend, Italy became the site of the third-largest global outbreak of the deadly virus after China and South Korea. Coronavirus fears took hold during the Milan shows, with more than 200 cases of the virus reported in Italy as of Monday.

However, it seems to be business-as-usual at Paris Fashion Week thus far, with just a few caveats. French President Emmanuel Macron did not cancel a dinner he hosted for designers and editors, held on Monday night at the Élysée Palace for the second season. A representative for Kering said its brands will continue to present runway shows as planned, as did representatives for other brands due to host in the first few days of Paris Fashion Week, including Lanvin, Koché and Lemaire. A representative for LVMH did not respond to a request for comment.

A representative for Lanvin said the brand will have face masks and hand sanitizer available for guests, as well as backstage for models.

Pascal Morand, the executive president of the Fédération de la haute couture et de la Mode, said the Fédération is following the recommendations of the French Ministry of Health and shared that information with brands. Each label is “empowered to make decisions on their own and take the necessary health precautions and hygienic measures,” he said. “We will continue to monitor the situation very carefully as fashion week progresses.”

The ministry recommends that visitors from mainland China, Hong Kong, Macao, Singapore, South Korea and the Veneto and Lombardy regions in Italy — the latter of which includes Milan — monitor their temperature and avoid non-essential outings to populated places, among other precautions.

The head of the World Health Organisation, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesu, told the BBC on Monday that the coronavirus crisis has not yet hit pandemic levels, but countries should prepare themselves to contain the outbreak.

The coronavirus has already impacted the season’s shows and trading. While most brands are suffering from the lack of Chinese buyers and influencers (known as Key Opinion Leaders, or KOLS) in attendance, some have been affected more broadly.

In Milan, Giorgio Armani cancelled his show, presenting instead without an audience via livestream. Shanghai Fashion Week, originally scheduled for March 26, has been postponed.

Updated 09:30 GMT on February 25 2020: An earlier version of this article misstated that Shanghai Fashion Week was originally scheduled for March 2 and has been cancelled. Shanghai Fashion Week was originally scheduled for March 26 and has been postponed.

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