Milan Fashion Week fires up catwalks despite cautious outlook

MILAN  -  The fashion set shifted to Italy Wednes­day for Milan Fashion Week, marked by a new designer at Moschino but held amid an uncertain outlook for luxury. The women’s runway shows from Fen­di, Prada, Versace and Dolce & Gabbana, among many others, promise a dose of festivity and froufrou in Italy’s north­ern fashion capital. Following fashion weeks in New York and London, Milan again has its moment in the limelight, with 56 runway shows through Sunday on its Fall/Winter 2024-2025 calen­dar. But they come amid a backdrop of uncertainty in the global luxury fash­ion market. Muted growth projections, inflation concerns, an economic slow­down in China and geopolitical risk are all weighing on the sector. According to McKinsey’s State of Fashion report published in November, it is expected to expand globally by just three to five percent this year. That is down the es­timated five to seven percent for 2023. Italy’s fashion sector includes clothing and leather, shoes, jewelry, cosmetics and accessories. It grew four percent to nearly 103 billion euros ($110 bil­lion) last year, according to estimates from the National Chamber for Italian Fashion. The association’s head, Carlo Capasa, said it was too early to know how the industry would fare in 2024. “It’s a complex year, it will take resil­ience,” Capasa told journalists earlier this month. “We know there are three wars, European and US elections. It’s a year of transition.” But frayed nerves are rarely on display in the front rows, as the glitterati gather. Wednesday’s shows include those from Fendi, Die­sel, Alberta Ferretti and Roberto Caval­li. And despite the uncertain outlook, more than 100,000 people -- buyers, media and brand representatives -- are expected for this week’s shows, up 10 percent on last February, Capasa said. Thursday’s debut collection of Adrian Appiolaza for Moschino will be high on the list for fashion watchers. The Argentine designer, previously at Loewe, was named creative director of the irreverent, pop-influenced brand last month after his predecessor died just 10 days into the job. Gucci veteran Davide Renne, who died in November, had been brought in when Jeremy Scott stepped down, after a decade at the helm. Founded by Franco Moschino, the label is known for playful, quirky creations often embellished with slo­gans -- such as “Gilt without Guilt” or “Good Taste Doesn’t Exist” -- or riffing on iconic consumer brands, from Mc­Donald’s to Barbie. Debut collections are also expected from Walter Chiap­poni at Blumarine -- the flirty, jeans-heavy brand previously led by Nicola Brognano -- and Matteo Tamburini at Tod’s. Chiapponi had been artistic di­rector at Tod’s since 2019, and when he left he was replaced by Tambu­rini, most recently head of ready-to-wear for Bottega Veneta. In a nod to Milan Fashion Week’s many fans from Asia, Tuesday night’s launch events included the debut of Maison Yoshiki, the label launched by Japa­nese rock star Yoshiki Hayashi. With the 58-year-old former frontman of heavy metal band X Japan at the piano, models walked the runway showing off the all-black collection of long silhouettes with edgy, asym­metrical necklines or exaggerated shoulders. Yoshiki, who goes by his first name, has already put his name on wine, energy drinks, kimonos, and even an edgy Hello Kitty twin, Yoshikitty. He has described his new fashion line as a “feminine but also genderless collection, flamboy­ant with a rebellious touch”.

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