Milan (AFP) – The who’s who of Italian fashion hits the runway again with the return of Milan’s women’s shows on Wednesday, which organizers hope will revive an industry suffocated by two years of coronavirus.
Back are the leggy models, paparazzi and Prosecco-fueled parties as the international jet-set get ready for live shows from Fendi, Giorgio Armani and Gucci, including a debut for Ferrari.
This season, for the first time since the outbreak of Covid-19 in Italy in February 2020, in-person shows with the public will outnumber pre-recorded shows and streaming movies for fashionistas at home.
These have proven a pale substitute for the catwalk extravaganzas that are a major advertising weapon for luxury brands. Now, Milan is hoping for an event worthy of the return of hundreds of buyers, journalists and fashion executives to the city.
Carlo Capasa, president of the Italian National Chamber of Fashion (CNMI), acknowledged at a press conference last week “the uncertainty” that still weighed on the sector.
But the 58 physical shows and nine digital offerings for Fall/Winter 2022/2023 are “a strong sign of optimism and positivity, which injects new momentum into the industry,” he said.
“Everything is heading towards recovery in 2022.”
Among the ready-to-wear catwalks, it’s Gucci, today’s “It” label, which attracts the most attention, with its green and red stripe. It returns to the Milanese calendar after two years of absence.
Designer Alessandro Michele returns from November’s “Gucci Love Parade” show which – filled with satin, sequins and ostrich feathers – transformed Hollywood’s Walk of Fame into the flashiest of catwalks.
– To recover –
Two years ago this week in Milan, Moschino presented a Versailles-worthy collection of embroidered silk confections on models with towering hairstyles. The carefree “Let them eat cake” vibe was quickly brought to a screeching halt by the pandemic.
Since then, after a period of factory closures, plummeting sales and a drastic change in the way people dress (sweatpants, anyone?), the industry has sought to find its way back. back to pre-Covid levels.
“After nearly two years of disruption, the global fashion industry is once again finding its feet,” consultancy McKinsey wrote in a December report.
Italian fashion and related sectors are expected to generate revenues of 83 billion euros ($95 billion) in 2021, up 20.9% year-on-year, according to CNMI. However, this is still 7.8% below 2019 levels.
Exports, up 16.4% in the first 10 months of 2021, were fueled by a 50% increase in sales to China and a 31.8% increase in the United States.
Chinese shoppers will still be out this week due to restricted entry into Italy, but a government measure intended to boost tourism means that overseas shoppers who have received vaccines not approved by the EU, particularly Russian Sputnik, are welcome.
A spate of Omicron cases led to a curtailment of Milan menswear week in January, and anxiety continues to hang over the show circuit, which started this month in New York and, after shows in London and Milan, ends in Paris in March. 8.
In New York, Tom Ford canceled his highly anticipated show, blaming an unfinished collection on Omicron cases among American design staff and Italian factory workers.
– Cars and corsets –
More at home on the racetrack than on the catwalk, Ferrari makes its Milan debut on Sunday, eight months after designer Rocco Iannone presented the first fashion collection for the luxury sports car brand, using his chain of mounting as a catwalk.
Diesel returns to Milan on Wednesday, marking Belgian designer Glenn Martens’ second collection for the Italian denim brand.
Martens, who continues to serve as artistic director of Y/Project, presented a resplendent haute couture collection in Paris last month as a guest designer for Jean Paul Gaultier, garnering rave reviews for his deconstructed take on the designer’s signature corset. French.
Fashion watchers are also eagerly awaiting Matthieu Blazy’s debut on Saturday as Bottega Veneta’s new creative director, following Daniel Lee’s surprise exit in November.
© 2022 AFP