Fashion week woes put spotlight on Milan's influence

Mon Mar 1, 2010 10:25am EST
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By Marie-Louise Gumuchian

MILAN (Reuters Life!) - Milan has long claimed its place among the top fashion capitals of the world, but calendar woes have fashionistas asking whether it is losing influence.

While top names like Giorgio Armani, Gucci and Versace gave it their all at the autumn/winter 2010-2011 catwalk shows and won wide praise for their lines, the talk of fashion week has centered on the intensive schedule of its cramped calendar.

Organizers were left scrambling to fit the major names into four days out of the February 24 - March 1 run after powerful fashion editor, Vogue's Anna Wintour, reportedly said she planned to shorten her attendance to go to Paris fashion week and then the Oscars in Los Angeles.

Both local and international press have written about the "Wintour effect" on the northern Italian city and how designers were bowing to demands of the international press.

Mario Boselli, the chairman of Italy's National Chamber of Fashion -- which organizes Milan fashion week -- said Italian designers often showed they were not conscious of their power "and instead give in to the pressure of the foreign press."

"I think the big maisons should speak up. We are smaller but we had to schedule our show accordingly with the calendar," Maurizio Modica, one of the designers at Frankie Morello, told Reuters. "The influence of Anna Wintour? It's a reality."

Milan has long relied on its status of the same big name brands that have been around for decades and whose creations are lapped up around the world. But main rival fashion capitals New York and Paris have longer schedules for this season. Industry observers also note there have been few internationally recognized young designers to emerge here in the last few years.


<p>Models walk on the catwalk at the end of Dolce&amp;Gabbana Fall/Winter 2010/11 women's collection fashion show during Milan Fashion Week February 28, 2010. REUTERS/Max Rossi</p>