Milan Fashion Week set to fire up runways despite cautious outlook for luxury


By AGENCY

A file picture shows models walking the runway at the Zegna collection show during Milan Fashion Week Men's in January. This week will kick off the womenswear shows in the city. Photo: AFP

The fashion set moves to Italy Wednesday (Feb 21) 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 Autumn/Winter 2024 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 loom large for the sector expected to expand globally by just three to five percent this year, according to McKinsey's State of Fashion report published in November.

That is below an estimated five to seven percent for 2023.

Read more: London Fashion Week runways celebrate multiculturalism and urban life

Italy's fashion sector – which includes clothing and leather, shoes, jewellery, cosmetics and accessories – grew four percent to nearly 103bil (approximately RM534bil)) 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 2024 will bode for the industry.

"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."

Glitterati gather

But frayed nerves are rarely on display in the front rows, as the glitterati gather for the jam-packed week of fashion's finest.

More than 100,000 people, including buyers, media and brand representatives, are expected for the fashion week, a rise of 10 percent over last February, Capasa said.

High on the list for fashion watchers will be the debut collection on Thursday (Feb 22) of Adrian Appiolaza for Moschino.

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.

Read more: New York Fashion Week closes after a runway marathon of diverse designs

Gucci veteran Davide Renne, who died in November, had been brought in after 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. – AFP

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