Battle of the labels at Milan Fashion Week

Italian fashion label Fendi, dedicated its functional and elegant designs to women who want to stay stylish in metropolitan jungles.
Model Gigi Hadid (above) in a dress by Alberta Ferretti and another model in a creation by N21 (right) at Milan Fashion Week.
Model Gigi Hadid (left) in a dress by Alberta Ferretti and another model in a creation by N21 (right) at Milan Fashion Week.PHOTOS: REUTERS, EPA-EFE

MILAN • Emporio Armani is inviting its fans to Milan-Linate airport to "check-in" for its show, telling them to bring passports, not carry liquids in their hand luggage and arrive early for security checks.

Italian shoe designer Sergio Rossi hopes to stamp his footprint, with his wares surrounded by leather-clad books of the sumptuous 17th-century Biblioteca Ambrosiana, Europe's second-oldest public library.

Labels are battling it out for who can put on the most extravagant and exclusive show at Milan Fashion Week, which kicked off on Wednesday.

Cutting-edge couturiers are taking over the city to present the women's ready-to-wear spring/summer 2019 collections, while doffing a collective cap to the environment.

Following on the high heels of the New York and London fashion weeks and ahead of the biggest of them all in Paris that starts on Tuesday, Milan's catwalk season will feature dozens of shows by the likes of Dolce & Gabbana, Prada, Versace, Cavalli, Armani and Fendi.

Notably absent will be Gucci, which this year escapes to Paris so that creative director Alessandro Michele can pay homage to the City of Light that inspired his new collection.

Gucci, founded in Florence in 1921, nevertheless hosted an exclusive performance by iconoclast Scottish dancer and choreographer Michael Clark at its Milan offices on Wednesday.

Some renowned designers will be absent, such as Emilio Pucci and Trussardi, while others will return, such as Philipp Plein and Iceberg, along with some surprises such as 1990s sportswear giant Fila.

Model Gigi Hadid (left) in a dress by Alberta Ferretti and another model in a creation by N21 (right) at Milan Fashion Week. PHOTOS: REUTERS, EPA-EFE

Last year's collaboration with Fendi, in which the two brands' logos were playfully mingled by artist Hey Reilly, catapulted Fila back into the limelight.

Continuing the trend of mixing street fashion with haute couture, French couturier Louis Vuitton in March appointed Virgil Abloh as director of its menswear collection.

Ghanaian-American Abloh created the Off-White brand, coveted by hip-hop artists.

While fashion houses put on exhibitions on the sidelines of fashion week, including by French photographer Sarah Moon at Armani's museum, the week's overarching theme is sustainable development or so-called Green Fashion.

The Italian Fashion Chamber of Commerce, which organises most of the week's events, will hand out the Green Carpet Fashion Awards to the most environment-friendly labels.

Celebrities and key industry figures will attend the awards ceremony at the world-famous Scala Theatre - the dress code is green - on Sunday, the climax of the week's more than 60 catwalk shows and 90 presentations.

While the fashion world is not known for particularly caring about the environment, British luxury label Burberry last week announced that it would stop burning unsold goods - an industry-wide practice.

Burberry and its peers routinely burn tens of millions of dollars worth of products every year to maintain the exclusivity and mystique of their brands.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 21, 2018, with the headline 'Battle of the labels at Milan Fashion Week'. Print Edition | Subscribe