Italian fashion houses are in the midst of a shakeup at Milan fashion week

Italian luxury brands have signed relatively little-known designers for their runway debuts.

The London catwalks were muffled and muted by national mourning, but in Milan, fashion week is in an effervescent mood.

The Italian fashion industry is on track for its best sales year in 2022. Opening the week of fashion shows, Carlo Capasa, president of the Italian Fashion Chamber, said: “in 2022, we are going to reach the even exceed the level of sales generated before the 2008 crisis, recording the highest revenue in the [Italian] fashion industry in 20 years.”

Fendi, a 97-year-old titan of Italian fashion, has gone from supine luxury to pop cultural force under the helm of British designer Kim Jones. After making a bold New York fashion airtime land grab by collaborating with Marc Jacobs and Sarah Jessica Parker for a runway birthday party for the Baguette bag in Manhattan a fortnight ago, the setting for the Fendi’s second show of the season was a 1990s warehouse party, with neon-painted steel podiums zigzagging across a concrete floor.

Outside, traffic came to a standstill with chauffeured celebrities, extravagantly dressed influencers and an army of street-style photographers. Inside, piano house anthems bounced off the walls as the runway filled with cargo pants with oversized patch pockets and parachute silk ties, and racer-back vest dresses worn nonchalantly without a bra. , lifted on Spice Girl-sized platform sneakers.

In the tradition of Italian fashion, the Fendi family remains at the heart of the house and Jones said the style was inspired after noticing that Delfina Delettrez Fendi, a 30-something scion of the house and its current fashion designer, jewelry, he selected archival pieces “from the period between 1996 and 2004, when Karl [Lagerfeld] was here” to wear.

The energy of the millennial era is proving irresistible at all levels of the fashion industry, from TikTok-fueled teens to the most luxurious of Italian brands. “I think when you look back on those years now, it seems like it was a really cool and fun time,” said British fashion designer Christopher Kane, who attended the Fendi show three days after returning to London fashion week. London on Sunday. “And the clothes were effortlessly cool.”

Milan is in the midst of a shakeup. Vying for a larger slice of what is proving to be a lucrative post-Covid recovery, several of the city’s big-name fashion houses have signed relatively little-known new designers who are making their runway debuts this week.

Maximilian Davis, a 27-year-old British designer of Trinidadian-Jamaican heritage who learned his dressmaking skills from his grandmother as a child in Manchester, has been catapulted from household name to landing at London fashion week to headlining Salvatore Ferragamo’s home, where past clients include Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn.

At Missoni, synonymous across the globe with colorful zigzags, creative control has finally passed from the family to Filippo Grazioli, who takes on his first front-of-house role after behind-the-scenes stints at Burberry and Givenchy. Etro has also appointed a designer outside the family for the first time, with the arrival of Marco de Vincenzo, who has said he intends to prioritize sustainability by introducing recycling to the 55-year-old Etro home.

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