As the month of September draws on, Milan undergoes a transformation. Not only do temperatures start to drop and leaves to fall as the sweltering summer ends but streets are suddenly dotted with colorful, eccentric attires, museums morph into showrooms and reservations become unusually difficult to place.
These are the unmistakable signs that the city is preparing to host the bi-annual event of fashion week.
Given its reasonable size for such an important city, Fashion Week hardly goes unnoticed in Milan. During the six hectic days, cobblestone streets reek of a unique creative energy, even the least fashion savvy people have a hard time escaping the atmosphere.
Milan fashion week is known for being rather consistent, featured brands have clearly defined values they stay loyal to, customers can easily associate most Italian labels with a clear-cut image. However, this doesn’t imply that shows are dull by any means: for if there is anything else the Milanese do fabulously, its production. This year included an array of sensational shows: Armani not only turned Linate airport into a catwalk but proceeded to invite Robbie Williams to sing for their guests, Rita Ora performed at Philip Plein and Moncler created an innovative cinematic experience in place of a conventional show.
As for the actual clothes displayed on the runway, two main trends were distinguished: Modern bourgeoisie and Escapism.
The former was noticed for example at Prada with embellished headbands and thick satin blouses or at Fendi with Lagerfeld’s pleated skirts and corseted suits. A contemporary edge was added to these sophisticated classics.
The notion of escapism was found under many forms such as the Californian dream at Etro or diving into fantasies at MSGM. Missoni also transported us from Japan to the moon with kimonos and iridescent blouses.
Other than granting the city with an artistic and dynamic spirit, how does Milan Fashion Week affect the city economically?
Fashion week brings more than 30 000 visitors to the Italian fashion capital. Last year, on average, each of these visitors spent 1,902 during their stay on accommodation, dining and shopping. In total the event generated an income of 64 Million euros. This year is estimated to have brought even more people to the city yet the total amount of revenue is unsure. The visitors’ spendable income is thought to have lowered.
With these numbers, Milan is ranked 13thout of the 20 biggest fashion weeks and last out of the four big ones (New York, London and Paris are ahead).
Finally, what were the pitfalls of this season’s event and what challenges does Milan face?
Gucci and Bottega Venetta, two major Italian houses, weren’t scheduled this year creating a highly apprehended void. This absence could have been an opportunity for other brands to demark themselves, but nobody seemed to have truly seized it.
Next year, the timetable could benefit from a better organization. Smaller brands were often squeezed in between prominent shows, unfortunately hindering them from receiving the attention needed to potentially grow.