Aug 13, 2020
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Physical and digital runway shows on the schedule for Milan Fashion Week

Aug 13, 2020

The Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana has unveiled the provisional calendar for Milan Fashion Week, which will be held from September 23-28. While the organizers are returning to a more traditional approach to the event for this edition, with more than half of the shows to be presented physically on site, some 20 shows will be presented digitally. And so once again for this season, the public at home should be able to have a front-row seat for certain presentations. 

Prada - Fall-Winter2020 - Womenswear - Milan - © PixelFormula

The global health crisis has forced fashion designers and labels to reinvent their approaches in order to adhere to social-distancing measures implemented by various governments around the world. As a result, various Fashion Weeks took place as digital events this past June and July. While it was nothing short of major upheaval for some involved, it was a bonanza for the public, who were able to attend -- virtually -- a host of shows during these unprecedented sessions. 

Now, the organizers, Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana, have announced a return to regular programming -- or almost, for the upcoming shows taking place in September, dedicated to spring/summer 2021 collections. No fewer than 28 shows will take place physically in Milan, albeit with a limited number of guests in order to respect social-distancing measures. Fendi, Alberta Ferretti, N°21, Prada, Max Mara, Etro, Boss, Tod's and Salvatore Ferragamo are among the labels that plan to return to the traditional runway format. 

Is the future of fashion 'phygital'?

A shortened combination of the terms "physical" and "digital," "phygital" could well become the norm for the next few seasons of Fashion Weeks, and for fashion at large. With the global pandemic seemingly not going away anytime soon, inciting some labels to present their new collection in an online format, this new approach could be the go-to for many brands in the long term. This September, Missoni, Dsquared2, Genny, Philipp Plein, Marco de Vincenzo and Ermanno Scervino are all planning for digital shows. 

And beyond the shows, the health crisis has driven luxury brands and fashion labels to focus more on the digital realm with the launch of new virtual showrooms, allowing large numbers of consumers to visualize and shop the latest collections from their sofas. One notable example is Balmain's recreation of its legendary Paris address featuring an avatar of the brand's creative director, Olivier Rousteing, to welcome online visitors.

While e-shops are nothing new, nor are they the result of measures linked to Covid-19, they could increasingly take the place of physical shops, or, at the very least, become true virtual window displays. Augmented reality, which allows users to try on clothes in a 'fitting room' from behind a simple screen or to test out makeup shades, is already helping the sector reinvent itself.

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