Milan Fashion Week back with fine programme, minus a few stars
After New York and London, it is Milan's turn to stage its womenswear fashion week, from February 21 to 27. The event’s programme was extremely rich last September, and the calendar for the upcoming Milan Fashion Week, dedicated to the women’s ready-to-wear collections for Fall/Winter 2023-24, is less busy but no less interesting. The main novelties will be Iceberg’s runway return and the first Italian show by Japanese designer Tomo Koizumi, while 11 names have dropped out of the official show calendar, including Versace, Moncler, Boss, Dsquared2 and Trussardi.
The programme features 165 events - there were 210 in the previous edition - with 59 shows, of which five in digital format, as opposed to 68 shows (with seven being online) six months ago, and 77 presentations (instead of 111), as well as about 30 off-calendar events. In addition to this, a few shows will be listed among the special events. Like the Benetton show on Saturday 25, or the show by Raxxy, the Chinese label by fashion designer and mathematics genius William Shen, who will be making his Milanese runway debut, and the show by Maryling, another Chinese label that is a Milan regular, on Wednesday 22.
The fashion week will get properly under way on Wednesday 22 with the opening show by Iceberg, the long-established Italian label owned by the Gilmar group, which hadn’t featured on the Milan womenswear calendar since 2018. Another two come-backs are scheduled on Sunday 26: Chinese designer Shuting Qiu, who had returned to Shanghai for three seasons after premièring in Milan in September 2019, and Japanese designer Atsushi Nakashima, who joined the Milan fashion week in February 2016 as part of the DHL Exported programme. Nakashima had gone back to Tokyo in recent seasons, alternating shows and presentations.
Journalists and buyers will be treated to all the household names in Italian fashion, with Fendi and Roberto Cavalli showing on Wednesday, followed by Max Mara, Prada and Moschino on Thursday, Tod’s and Gucci on Friday, Dolce & Gabbana, Missoni and Bottega Veneta on Saturday, and Giorgio Armani on Sunday. But they will have to do without some prestigious labels, like Versace, which will show in Los Angeles this season, on March 10. Boss will unveil its new collection in Miami on March 15, with a ‘see now, buy now’ show. Moncler decided to move this season’s Genius event to London on Monday February 20, while Dsquared2 went back to a mixed-gender show format, and picked a slot on the menswear calendar last January.
Trussardi has opted for a presentation this season, the same as long-established Italian label Luisa Beccaria. Elisabetta Franchi too has dropped out, and will show outside the official calendar, on Saturday 25. Also off-calendar, Laura Biagiotti is anticipating the fashion week by holding a big event on Monday 20 at the Piccolo Teatro. Among the many other names no longer featured on the official calendar, those of emerging label AC9 by Alfredo Cortese, which debuted in Milan exactly a year ago, and Ports 1061, which is undergoing a “strategic refocusing,” as the label announced recently. British punk-queer designer Matty Bovan, who was sponsored by Dolce & Gabbana last season, has left Milan, replaced by Japanese designer Tomo Koizumi, who will show on Sunday February 26, he too supported by the Italian luxury label. Two notable debuts will be those of Avavav and Alabama Muse on Tuesday February 27, both in digital format.
Finally, Italian-Haitian designer Stella Jean and the WAMI (we are made in Italy) collective of immigrant Italian designers she sponsors will also not be showing. Jean has decided to boycott Milan Fashion Week in protest, after the Italian Fashion Chamber (CNMI) stopped providing financial support to WAMI. Nevertheless, there are various projects in support of minority communities, including the gala evening on Friday February 24 celebrating the ‘Black Carpet Awards’ for diversity and inclusion, promoted by the Afro Fashion Association, a non-profit organisation led by Italian-Cameroonian designer Michelle Francine Ngomno, one of WAMI’s founders. On February 24-27, diversity will also be one of the themes of trend-scouting trade show White Milano, which will welcome seven designers from the indigenous peoples of America selected by Toronto’s Indigenous Fashion Arts association.
The calendar withdrawals will be compensated by a plethora of off-calendar events, like the presentation on Thursday 23 by long-established label Mila Schön, back on the scene under the aegis of new creative director Marc Audibet, and the presentation on Tuesday 21 by Krizia, another top Italian fashion name which has not been showing since 2018. Another event is the ‘White Canvas: LV Trainer in Residence’ exhibition organised by Louis Vuitton to celebrate the first sneaker by Virgil Abloh, in a version redesigned for the occasion. Also under the spotlight, the Max & Co. with Anna Dello Russo and the Weekend Max Mara with Kate Phelan collaborations. Several new names will feature in the presentations section: ADD, Boyy, Lara Chamandi, Maison Laponte, Mantù, Pianegonda, Spaccio Alta Maglieria, Viviers, Wolford, Yali and Zineb Hazim & Karim Daoudi.
A major novelty for this session is the fact that the Milan Fashion Week headquarters are based once again, after many years, in uber-central Palazzo Giureconsulti, home to various events. Finally, the Milanese week will be enlivened by countless parties and evening events - like the exclusive dinner organised by Starbucks - the last of which will be the screening on Sunday 26 of the documentary Milano: Inside the Story of Italian Fashion, by US director John Maggio, during a gala evening.
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