The Milan Fashion Week winter edition closed on January the 19th and, almost seamlessly, the countdown to the summer edition started. The second instance of this semi-annual event is scheduled to take place from June 18th to 21st 2016. As if the forthcoming spring and early summer were not set to be exciting enough already in Milan, catering to arts and sports fan alike. Fashion enthusiasts will have their share of the spotlight, as the new trends for the next summer collections are revealed. Milan Fashion Week is no mere trade show either: it is the symbol of a flourishing industry, that seems to be immune to the financial uncertainty of these troubled times. So far, the Italian Fashion Industry has kept growing at a steady pace, proving a source of national pride as well as a valuable asset to the national economy. To say that the industry has stayed strong through times of crisis does not imply that it has not changed in recent years. On the contrary: its capacity for constant evolution might well be at the root of its resilience and success.
Milan Fashion Week – the Event
Milan Fashion Week is a complex event. Far from being the exclusive interest of a restricted elite, it is known to change the whole face of the city. Tens of thousands of professionals will hit Milan for a week and a crowd of buyers, journalists, fashion bloggers and celebrities of various descriptions from all over the world will be enjoying its hectic nightlife as well as the hundreds of day events. Hospitality in Milan is a well oiled machine and the whole city takes a bit of extra madness in its stride, while managing to enjoy the buzz and the limelight like it has done for decades, since the Milan Fashion Week’s inception in 1958. Extra safety measures will be in place for this year’s edition. The January edition already saw metal detectors and security checks at the entrance of certain key locations, such as the venues hosting events by Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci and Prada.
The end of norm-core and the dawn of no-gender fashion
The winter editions of the world’s main fashion shows – the London, Paris, New York and Milan Fasion Week and Pitti Uomo in Florence – have already given us several hints as to what we can expect from the forthcoming spring/summer collections. It looks like the normcore style might have exhausted its pull. Inconspicuousness as a fashion statement is over, at least in menswear. And speaking of menswear, that might not have much mileage left in it either. No-gender collections seem to be the most popular trend in prèt-a-porter – although those of us who remember the term “unisex” might legitimately question the overall novelty of the idea. In all honesty, however, it might be slightly easier to make no-gender clothes look good on male and female models that are carefully selected for their skinny, androgynous body and that could convincingly swap clothes at any time like Tilda Swinton and David Bowie. I would be much more of a challenge to design items of clothing that could be successfully swapped between Woody Allen and Adele or between Dwayne Johnson and Charlotte Gainsbourg. As far as gendered collections go, anyway, the new trends in fashion seem to be pointing to the recent past. Several brands, including Cavalli and Dolce & Gabbana, are exploring vintage influences, from the ’50s to the ’70s, shaping the character of their collections according to an overall romantic, dandy or rock’n’roll imagery.
Ethical fashion in the modern industry
The fashion industry has been at the centre of several major kerfuffles due both to the questionable ethics of some of its production standards and to the unreasonable models of beauty that it seems to offer. The constant search for new trends and hype, that are typical of this sector, are in stark contrast with the industry’s natural resistance to change. As of late, however, the landscape had started to shift around us. While not much can be done for the beauty standards that are imposed upon society by the medium of fashion, there is still hope for the production standards. One extraordinary example, in that respect, is Giorgio Armani, who announced that natural fur will no longer be employed in the making of Armani jackets. Technology – the designer said – allows us to come up with perfectly viable alternatives without torturing animals..