Covid emergency, Pitti and Milan fashion week confirmed between strict and digital rules

Covid emergency, Pitti and Milan fashion week confirmed between strict and digital rules

The key points

  • The growing infections in Europe led Armani, Ann Demeulemeester, Cucinelli and Valentino to cancel some events
  • Pitti, Milan fashion week and Expo Riva Schuch confirm the physical editions
  • No defection (for now) from European and American buyers

The Omicron variant is going wild in Europe, but it does not discourage the Italian fashion system. Which focuses on strengthened rules to ensure maximum security during face-to-face events and on digital platforms to allow companies to reach buyers and press if Covid (or a quarantine) prevents the physical meeting. Objective: to save a business, that of men’s fashion, which in 2022 should return to pre-pandemic levels, thanks to the push for exports. January has always been the key month for Italian men’s fashion. This year it is even more so since one of the “competitor” events of Pitti (11-13 January, in Florence) and Milano Moda Uomo (14-18 January), namely the London Fashion Week Men’s, has already given up in early December due to Covid. The scene, therefore, is all for Italy. The boom in positives, in our country and in Europe, has led some companies to take a step back: after the cancellations of Giorgio Armani in Milan and Paris, that of Brunello Cucinelli in Florence and the postponement of the Valentino Vintage project to April 2022, yesterday the event of Ann Demeulemeester, special guest of Pitti 101 was canceled (and postponed to the next edition). Other fashion houses, such as Fendi and Dolce & Gabbana, confirmed the physical events.

Defections and confirmations

Taking note of the defections announced so far (and of the fact that other brands could pull back), the organizers of the various events found themselves compact in the reaction: to go ahead. «Pitti Immagine has made a choice since the beginning of the pandemic – said the CEO Raffaello Napoleone -. Staying close to companies, buyers, seeking the interest of the entire fashion system. Since then we have remained faithful to that choice, adapting to the evolution of the general situation ». Along the same lines, Carlo Capasa, president of the National Chamber of Fashion (Cnmi), on the strength of the positive experiences of the past years: “Milan fashion weeks in these pandemic years have been recognized by professionals, internationally, as those where they felt safer and more protected, also thanks to our constant work with the institutions, primarily the Municipality of Milan. It is our intention to continue in this direction, confirming a fashion week in the presence and in safety ». Expo Riva Schuh & Gardabags, an exhibition dedicated to footwear and accessories with 500 exhibitors, will also be held as planned, scheduled for January 15th to 18th in Riva del Garda.

Strengthened rules for not giving up on physical events

The first move of the organizers was to strengthen the rules: “The works in the Fortezza da Basso go on with rigorous safety measures – said Napoleone – and with protocols even more stringent than those required by the most recent regulations, both during the preparations and in the fair days “. Tomorrow morning the Chamber of Fashion will send the most updated version (the fourth) of the “Operating instructions for the drafting of protocols for the protection of health and prevention of the risk of Covid-19 contagion in the creation of fashion shows “, developed in collaboration with the competent authorities and aligned with the latest provisions of the Government. On top: super greenpass and FFp2 mask for everyone.

Buyers arriving from Europe and the USA

Meanwhile, the data on infections do not seem to scare foreign buyers who, at the time of writing this article, have not changed their minds about their presence at Pitti or in Milan. In Florence, Pitti Immagine reports, mainly European buyers (and, in particular, from France, Germany and the United Kingdom) and from the United States are expected. Same “composition” as the parterre of buyers expected by the Chamber of Fashion, which once again this year has activated a program of incoming ad hoc, with services designed to facilitate bureaucratic procedures (such as tampons for returning to the respective countries) and travel: no cancellation registered (for now). Riccardo Grassi, owner of the homonymous Milanese showroom confirms the trend: “We have many appointments on our agenda both with European buyers, with Great Britain as the only unknown, and with the Americans who preferred Milan to Paris,” he says. On the other hand, arrivals from Asia are scarce («which is worth about 50% of the business», underlines Grassi) and from Russia.

Digital platforms to reach those who cannot come

Precisely to reach those who cannot be present (and possibly to have a plan B in case of forced cancellations) the virtual platforms of the events remain active, which allow not only to see the collections, but also to get in touch with companies and showrooms. to place orders. Pitti Connect has already been operational for about a month and will be until the end of February, while Cnmi, in addition to broadcasting ten digital events and all fashion shows in streaming, will activate a platform dedicated to showrooms.

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