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Milan Fashion Week returns with a buzzy calendar of physical shows

By Don-Alvin Adegeest

21 Feb 2022


Image: Prada AW22 Menswear Showspace
Milan Fashion Week starts on Tuesday, with more physical shows and in-person events since the start of the pandemic, culminating in 169 planned presentations. After a subdued New York and London devoid of big ticket brands, Milan is back with a buzzing schedule, including the return of Kering heavyweights Gucci and Bottega Veneta to its official fashion week. Both brands have previously shown off-schedule or in other cities and formats, and Matthieu Blazy’s debut collection for BV on 26 February will be one of the week’s most anticipated shows. Also on the one-to-watch list is the first Diesel show under new creative director Glenn Martins.

The pandemic disruption appears to be over

Giorgio Armani, who in January cancelled his Privé haute couture and menswear presentations is also returning to the physical catwalk. Mr Armani was one of the first designers to cancel his shows at the onset of Covid-19. Elsewhere Prada, Fendi and Versace, three giant pillars of Milan fashion week, are foregoing digital experimentations for catwalk presentations. The disruptions of the pandemic appear to be over for the majority of Italian fashion companies.

Plein Sport, Philipp Plein’s activewear brand, will see a relaunch on the runway at the company’s newly acquired hotel, the Palazzo Melzi d'Eril, the formerly Spazio Krizia. Also new to the official Milan schedule are Ambush and Aniye Records as well as the return of directional sportswear brand Palm Angels.

Notably not on the catwalk schedule is Salvatore Ferragamo, who remains without a creative director since the departure of Paul Andrew last year. The company is undergoing a strategy makeover under new chief executive Marco Gobbetti, who began his post in January after leaving Burberry in 2021. The company will host a collection presentation on Saturday instead.

Italian fashion exports are in high demand

Italy’s fashion industry is in a recovery phase after export sales drastically fell in 2020. "In 2021 we recovered two thirds of what we lost in 2020. It has been an important year which encourages us to believe that in 2022 we will return to our pre-pandemic level," said Carlo Capasa, president of the National Chamber of Italian Fashion (CNMI), during a programme presentation of MFW.

In an interview with EU News Mr Capasa said “Italian exports to the top 10 EU and non-EU countries saw double-digit growth in 2021. The third quarter of last year stabilized at the levels of the same period in 2019 and we recovered about 16 billion euros out of 24 lost in 2020. At this pace, we will recover the remaining eight billion in 2022 and exports are expected to grow, compared to the last pre-Covid year”.