When a nation is vulnerable, that's when the invaders come. And while the locals may bemoan the foreign competition – let’s just say that the pirates, through the support of Milan’s fashion leaders, may have saved Milan’s ready-to-wear shows from becoming Paris’ wallflower little sister.
Arthur Arbesser Women Fashion Show Ready to Wear Collection Spring Summer 2017 in Milan
An unprecedented amount of foreign names have filled the Milan calendar this season: Alexandre Birman, Daizy Shely, Uma Wang, Joop’s youth-driven brand Wunderkind, and Arthur Arbesser are just a few of many enhancing Milan's creative patrimony.
The lineup includes 71 runway shows of old and new labels that will close Monday – rendering fashion week more of an international marketplace for buyers, most of whom hail from the US and Asia.
Krizia Women Fashion Show Ready to Wear Collection Spring Summer 2017 in Milan
“Milan’s Fashion Chamber and Italian fashion leaders have been extremely helpful in promoting me and my presence here,” Zhu Chongyun, the new owner and designer of Krizia, told NOWFASHION before the resurrected brand's first fashion show.
One of China's wealthiest entrepreneurs, Zhu is also co-founder of the Shenzhen Marisfrolg corporation that bought Mariuccia Mandelli's Krizia in 2014. The collection is 100 percent made in Italy, with a tasteful Asian vision that has resulted in unique fashions.
“We talk all the time about the need for a generational turnover, and the necessity to enrich Milan with international names. And this is exactly what will happen in the end: considering fashion shows, events, and presentations,” Carlo Capasa, Italian Chamber of Fashion President, told Italian daily il Sole 24 Ore in an interview in June. Capasa’s work has paid off, but he has had a lot of help from powerful media like Vogue Italia.
Daizy Shely Women Fashion Show Ready to Wear Collection Spring Summer 2017 in Milan
Young designers that resonated this week said they made their way here vis-a-vis contests and emerging talent platforms pioneered by Italy's top fashion magazine.
“I had to pinch myself,” said bespoke jewelry designer Anita Quansah, a Nigerian Londoner, who said Vogue Italia’s talent scout Sara Maino urged her to assert herself internationally. “She said I was ready. I couldn’t believe it."
Quansah was among the finalists chosen by “The New Generation” scouting initiative sponsored by Swarovski crystals and that were present at the Vogue Talent selection at Milan’s Palazzo Morando. The event also hosted cutting-edge Saudi Arabian, Lebanese, British, and Iranian designers.
Around the city, other international highlights included the German Fashion Designers presentation at the Milan Fashion Chamber headquarters and a South Korean designers pop-up store at Antonia at Excelsior Milano.
Wunderkind Women Fashion Show Ready to Wear Collection Spring Summer 2017 in Milan
More established names like Wolfgang Joop recently traded Paris for Milan in order for Wunderkind to reach more buyers. But he too, he said, was urged to present here by Franca Sozzani and Carlo Capasa.
“They need a little bit of roughness here and I can bring that from Berlin,” said Joop candidly backstage. “Paris’ lineup comes late in the fashion season and with a lot of heavy competition; Wunderkind lost some face time with buyers. We were a little lost in Paris,” he said.
Atsushi Nakashima Women Fashion Show Ready to Wear Collection Spring Summer 2017 in Milan
Like Joop, Japanese designer Atsushi Nakashima traded Tokyo for Milan, through the DHL Exported project, and started showing here in February. He was back again this season with a show that culminated in 3D printed shoes that were fashioned in an abstract ball-shaped form. His women's collection possessed the sort of Japanese cuteness and innovation that turned heads and sent iPhone cameras ablaze.
The celebrities here – that included everyone from Serena Williams to young fashion icon Olivia Palermo – were not disappointed in selection. “I think all European shows – London, Paris, and Milan – have a more international base in general. Everyone here focuses more on the trends than they do in New York,” Palermo told NOWFASHION outside of Giuseppe Zanotti’s shoe presentation.
Brand new names like Chinese fashion brand Ricostru are highly anticipated by buyers and journalists. The founder, Rico Manchit Au, started the brand in 2011 and is the latest designer to be selected by Giorgio Armani to show at his Armani Theater. Ricostru's Milan catwalk debut will take place on Monday, Milan Fashion Week's last day.