Milan fashion stretches calendar to woo and wow

Wed Sep 22, 2010 12:44pm EDT
 
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By Antonella Ciancio

MILAN (Reuters Life!) - Milan's designers will strive to bring their catwalk collections closer to the average shopper with a range of public shows and electronic offerings as Milan Fashion Week kicks off on Wednesday.

Aiming to overcome the calendar woes that squeezed February's womenswear edition into four days and lure cash-strapped shoppers, organizers have spread around 170 shows and presentations over a week, arranged open-air viewings, streaming videos to giant screens and smartphones.

"We are spreading around, we are getting closer to people," Mario Boselli, president of Italy's National Chamber of Fashion, told Reuters on the sidelines of an exhibition on Monday.

Thousands of journalists and buyers are expected to add to the hustle and bustle in the heart of Italy's fashion capital, where organizers moved their hub for the first time in 30 years.

The decision to leave a less central fair center was made to help buyers, models and reporters move around Milan's crowded streets, after complaints over delays and traffic jams.

"The calendar is more balanced, we will see more punctuality at the shows," Armando Branchini, secretary general of Italian luxury goods association Altagamma told reporters on Tuesday.

Unlike past editions, names such as Gucci and Armani will not jam pack the days in the middle of the schedule, while underwear, swimwear and oversize brands have been left out.

Shows will be streamed on giant screens and news will be delivered on smartphones to bring the catwalk to the average Milanese shopper, as the industry strives to fully recover from the crisis.   Continued...

 
<p>A model presents a creation as part of Gucci's Spring/Summer 2011 women's collection during Milan Fashion Week September 22, 2010. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini</p>